JOHANNESBURG – Reeza Hendricks seemed to have gone off the South African selectors’ radar after scoring three, seven and a duck in the three-game Twenty20 International series in England in June 2017.
However, called back for the ongoing series against India, Hendricks hit 70 in 50 balls opening the innings in the first game in Johannesburg on Sunday, even as South Africa lost by 28 runs, ending on 175/9 in reply to India’s 203/5.
“I had to obviously look and put that behind me,” said Hendricks after the game about his previous run. “Grateful for the opportunity again, so I had to just go out there and express myself and try and contribute as well as I could.
"I don’t think I worked on anything much different to what I’ve been doing, trying to keep it as simple as possible, backing my game plans and backing my strengths, so I just went with that and fortunate it came off.”
Hendricks was understandably disappointed at not being able to take South Africa over the line, calling it a “bittersweet” feeling, but said that with Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling a magical spell of 5/24, there wasn’t too much he or the other batsmen could do.
“The Indians bowled really well. We started very slowly, I think, and then I had to get myself and, like I said, take it deep as possible. With wickets falling around, I managed to do that, but I would have loved to have taken the team home,” said Hendricks.
“I think they just executed the plans and kept it very simple. That’s pretty much it compared to what we did. Obviously, their powerplay was much better than ours. Looking back, that’s where we lost our way.
“He (Kumar) was just consistent in his area, which is pretty much giving us nothing to score. We had to be happy with ones and twos.”
Chasing 204 for victory, South Africa slipped quickly to 48/3 before Hendricks and Farhaan Behardien added 81 for the fourth wicket to revive the chase.
“As the opening batters, we obviously try to get a good start, capitalise in the first six and then take it deep as possible. They bowled well, we lost a few wickets, so that meant we had to stabilise the innings and build a few partnerships and take it deep as possible,” Hendricks said.
“We needed a partnership, so myself and Fudgie (Behardien) just discussed that we needed a partnership, take it deep as possible, give ourselves a chance at the back-end with wickets in hand and then try and capitalise there.”
JP Duminy, leading the side in Faf du Plessis’s absence, pointed to that partnership and Hendricks’s comeback as the positives for the team in what was a disappointing performance otherwise.
“In an ideal world, we would have liked to extend that partnership, but again, you look at the situation of the game, you probably needed 14-15 runs an over, so they needed to up the ante, they needed to take the game forward," Duminy said.
"Unfortunately again, never came off. But I was very proud of the way they went about it, see Reeza, play a handful of games and the way he performed under pressure was exceptional. Those are the kinds of positives you want to take out of it, and we as players and team-mates want to feed off that kind of positiveness.”
African News Agency (ANA)