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Ken Borland

Every innings a new instalment of his career & a new situation to adapt to for Rassie

Posted on February 14, 2022 by Ken

For Rassie van der Dussen, every innings is a new instalment of his career, a new situation to adapt to, and he did it to perfection at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday as his unbeaten century led South Africa to an impressive 31-run win over India in the first ODI.

Van der Dussen came to the crease in the 18th over when the Proteas were struggling on 68/3. Together with his captain Temba Bavuma, who was busy getting himself in and would go big in scoring a brilliant century of his own, they added a magnificent 204 off just 190 deliveries, the best ever fourth-wicket stand for South Africa against India.

Van der Dussen’s commanding 129 not out off just 96 balls means he has now scored 1178 runs in his 30 ODIs at an extraordinary average of 73.62. What marked this innings out was how fluently he played right from the start of his innings, on a slow and tricky pitch that made scoring difficult.

“The pitch was taking a bit of turn and I knew I would have to go to my sweeps and reverse-sweeps fairly early,” Van der Dussen said after his career-best ODI score. “If I let the spinners settle on a slow pitch then it would not be easy to go down the ground.

“I tried to put the pressure back on them, and Temba and I were constantly reminding each other to keep the intensity high. Always as a batsman, especially in the middle-order, I try and read the situation.

“I’m trying to make a good score that will win the match, I have no other reference. I appreciate it may look like something else for those outside. Today I knew that if I allowed the spinners to settle then they would get into a good rhythm and it would be very difficult to win.

“So I tried to reverse the pressure with low-risk boundary options. You have to be able to go to those skills whether it’s your first ball or 100th ball,” Van der Dussen said.

South African teams have historically struggled against the turning ball and both Indian spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, have prospered against them in the past. But the way Van der Dussen and Bavuma played them on Wednesday suggests all is okay now on that front.

“Conditions in Paarl generally suit the spinners because there’s not a lot of pace,” Van der Dussen added. “But the way we’ve upskilled ourselves has allowed us to use these game-plans against spin.

“It started in the West Indies last year and then in Sri Lanka, while we knew spin would play a big role at the T20 World Cup. So it’s been a process that has been going on for more than a year.

“In the past we came short against spin, but we identified it as a weakness and credit to Mark Boucher and Justin Sammons [batting consultant] for giving us the skills to apply out there and execute in the middle,” Van der Dussen said.

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