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Rilee Rossouw joins the queue of SA batters in rich T20 form

Rilee Rossouw in action for the Knights during the 2021/22 CSA Provincial T20 Cup final against Hollywoodbets Dolphins at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on 22 October 2021. Pictute: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Rilee Rossouw in action for the Knights during the 2021/22 CSA Provincial T20 Cup final against Hollywoodbets Dolphins at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on 22 October 2021. Pictute: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town - South African batters continue to set alight T20 tournaments around the world with Rillee Roussouw the latest to shine for Somerset in England’s Vitality T20 Blast on Wednesday evening.

Rossouw ensured the T20 Blast began in rip-roaring fashion with an undefeated 81 from 54 balls (7x4, 2x6) to power his new county to an eight-wicket victory over defending champions Kent Spitfires at Canterbury. He was ably supported by Somerset skipper Tom Abell (48* off 29 balls) as last season’s runners-up exacted revenge for their defeat in last season’s championship final.

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“I’m happy that I was able to score so many runs for the team and most importantly help us to get that win. The bowlers did brilliantly to hit their lines and lengths in the first innings. It’s been a dream start,” Rossouw said.

The 32-year-old last played for the Proteas in 2016 after signing a Kolpak deal with fellow English County Championship side Hampshire.

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The dashing left-hander spent three seasons at The Rose Bowl, but gained further global T20 experience by playing in the Pakistan Super League, Sri Lankan Premier League, Australia’s Big Bash and the Bangladeshi Premier League. He also played in the Indian Premier League for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Rossouw, who represented the Proteas in 36 ODIs and 15 T20Is, has since returned to South African domestic cricket after the Kolpak loophole ended with the UK's departure from the European Union where he returned to his hometown team, the Free State Knights.

He was exceptional during last season’s CSA T20 Knockout Cup, driving the Knights to the title virtually single-handedly with 295 runs at an average of 98.33 and strike-rate of 157.75. He blasted a magnificent 112 not out against Western Province in a thrilling quarter-final.

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“I really try to enjoy my cricket wherever I go and Somerset have welcomed me with open arms and everyone has been very friendly to me, going the extra mile. I am very happy to be here and playing in England again,” Rossouw said.

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There is a T20 World Cup set to be staged in Australia later this year, but it is unlikely that Rossouw will get a call from national convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang with the Proteas currently enjoying a wealth of batting options, particularly with Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and David Miller all in good form at the IPL.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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