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Rassie van der Dussen ’doesn’t pay much attention’ to his brilliant batting average

Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa celebrates his 50 against India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa celebrates his 50 against India. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 20, 2022

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Cape Town - Rassie van der Dussen's last two white-ball innings have yielded a sum total of 223 runs without being dismissed.

It has come across both the T20 and ODI formats. Both innings have been of the highest quality against top-class opposition under supreme pressure.

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More tellingly, though, it has come at the hugely impressive strike-rates of 156.67 and 134.37 respectively. Not too bad for a batter that has been regarded as "selfish" previously in some quarters.

"I don't pay too much attention to it," said Van der Dussen after his 129 not out performance that earned him the Player of the Match in Wednesday's First ODI against India in Paarl.

"Going in the middle order, I try to read the situation and play it according to how I think will give us a good score or win the match.

"Sometimes I appreciate the fact that from the outside it might look like I'm doing something else, but my only motivation ever going in to bat is to get the team in a good position or to win the match. There is never any other reference from my point of view."

A relatively late starter to international cricket at 29, Van der Dussen's importance to the Proteas' fortunes has risen quickly and made him virtually indispensable across formats over the past three years.

It is, however, in the ODI arena where the now 32-year-old has really flourishised in achieving a record-breaking average of 73.62. He was also the third fastest to 1000 ODI runs alongside West Indies legend Viv Richards amongst others.

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Besides the Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate, who played primarily against the Associate Nations during his 33-match ODI career, no other batter averages above 60 after playing a minimum of 20 matches. India's former captain Virat Kohli is next best with an average of 59.03.

ALSO READ: Consistent performances sees Rassie van der Dussen and Janneman Malan named in ICC ODI team of the Year

Van der Dussen stresses that his astounding statistics are not foremost on his mind when he walks to the crease.

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"You are sometimes aware of it because they show it on TV, or whatever, but I think for me in every innings you are starting on 0 and trying to assess the match situation and what's needed from you," he said.

"I suppose in my ODI career, I've been really clear when I go into bat and to know what was needed from me. I'm glad I could play a match-winning knock in the end."

A large part of Van der Dussen's - and in turn South Africa's - success at Boland Park was the way he and captain Temba Bavuma nullified the threat of Yuzvendra Chahal on a sluggish Paarl surface.

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On India's previous visit to South Africa four years ago, Chahal (16 wickets) and his spin partner Kuldeep Yadav (17 wickets) claimed 33 scalps to drive to the visitors to 5-1 drubbing of the Proteas.

Through a combination of reverse and orthodox sweeps, Van der Dussen and Bavuma kept Chahal wicketless while taking 53 runs off his allotted 10 overs during their 204-run stand.

They will need to replicate their performance again on Friday, and hopefully with some more support from the top order, if the Proteas are to complete a memorable home "double" over India this summer.

Likely teams for second ODI at Boland Park

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram/Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma (capt), David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wayne Parnell/Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.

India: KL Rahul (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Start: 10:30am; TV: SuperSport, Sabc3.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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