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Ken Borland

Many regard Gayle & McCullum as the best T20 batsmen ever; now Hendricks joins them

Posted on September 14, 2022 by Ken

Many people regard Chris Gayle as the greatest T20 batsman ever and Brendon McCullum did so much to popularise the format with his record-breaking feats in the early days, and now Reeza Hendricks has joined that illustrious pair as the only batsmen to score four successive half-centuries in internationals between Test-playing nations.

McCullum did it first against the West Indies, Australia and India (two) in 2008/9, followed by Gayle, who passed fifty in four consecutive innings against New Zealand (twice), Australia and England in 2012.

Hendricks will have the chance to claim the record for himself when South Africa play Ireland in the second T20 in Bristol on Friday night, having added to his 57, 53 and 70 against England with a brisk 74 off 53 balls against Ireland in Bristol on Wednesday evening, earning himself another Man of the Match award.

“I wasn’t aware of the record, but those are big names to rub shoulders with, to be mentioned in the same group as them is really special,” Hendricks said after his innings, which set up a 21-run win.

“A lot of work has gone into the run. I’ve seen how T20 has evolved and it’s a mindset shift as well. That’s the way the coach wants us to play.

“Starting the tour well gave me confidence and you just take that forward with you. There’s no secret to how it happens, I just go about my business and try and follow my process.

“It’s the nature of the game, how it goes sometimes. I’ve got on a good run and momentum is on my side. Hopefully that can continue in the next game against Ireland,” Hendricks said.

Aiden Markram lashed 56 not out off 27 balls in partnership with Hendricks, bringing up three successive half-centuries for the second time in his career (he first did it against Pakistan in Gauteng last year), so he can also join Gayle and McCullum on Friday.

The other South Africans to have scored a hat-trick of T20 fifties are Quinton de Kock, in the West Indies last year, and Hashim Amla, against England (two) and Australia in 2016.

De Kock has, of course, scored many T20 runs for South Africa – his 1887 runs is second only to JP Duminy’s 1934. But he has made just 129 runs in his last 10 innings; he was run out for just seven on Wednesday night, the second time he has suffered that dismissal in recent times.

Just has Hendricks has hit a wave, so De Kock is in a trough and the in-form opener can sympathise.

“The game can quickly turn and then you’re in the dark side,” Hendricks said. “Unfortunately Quinny is on the other side of things, but he just needs one good innings and things will turn.

“We know what quality he has and it’s just a matter of time before it all clicks for him.”

With the rest of the South African batsmen making merry in the UK, Friday night in Bristol would be a good time for De Kock to break his run of low scores.

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