Coming in at No 7, the beanpole fast bowler blasted 75 off 42 balls in a blitzkrieg which included six sixes, each of them landing deep into the 29,000 near-capacity crowd. As England captain Jos Buttler pointed out after his team’s thrashing, the ‘Klaasen-Jansen show,’ which produced 151 in 77 balls, was the “main bit of the game,” as it left England with a massive 400-run target. After stroking his maiden ODI half-century, the left-arm pacer took the key wickets of Dawid Malan and Joe Root in a five-over spell to signal his emergence as a potentially world-class all-rounder and a dangerous finisher.
“I am very, very happy (with my knock). When I grew up, I opened the batting. Personally, I enjoy my batting a lot. I might not be technically as pleasing on the eye as other guys but I love batting. And I have worked hard on it. I know my main job is to perform with the ball,” Jansen said in the mixed media zone post the match.
Klaasen was “chuffed and happy” about his teammate’s first fifty in his 18th ODI. “Marco has been working extremely hard on his batting and he’s taking a lot of pride in his death hitting as well. He’s been disappointed after a couple of the innings that he didn’t really pull through. So, I’m so chuffed and happy for him that the way he executed today and his intensity was a little bit low when we started off but that wasn’t any issue for us because we just needed to rebuild for four or five overs and I told him if we just hang on, we’ve got seven overs off of breaking them and the way he struck the ball today and like I said he told me he’s got me today and that’s the best I’ve seen him hit a cricket ball in a very long time,” Klaasen said.
The extreme heat and humidity tested both the teams to the limit, and while his partner struggled with it, Jansen did well to overcome the conditions to carry out his job with perfection. “Tonight was very tough; I have to take a lot of ice baths to recover. It was very taxing. You have to drink lots of fluids else you might get a blurry vision. I think there is one place in South Africa that may be similar to this is Paarl; it’s not this humid but very hot,” Jansen said.
Klaasen revealed how Jansen kept him going in a highly physically demanding environment. “Marco also played a big part in that (his hundred). He told me today that he’s got me and that I’m not allowed to walk off the field if I don’t score 100. And I told him: ‘but I can’t run,’ and he said, ‘it’s fine, just give me 100% every time you face the ball.’ Jansen helped me through that phase,” he told reporters.
When Jansen walked out to bat, Klaasen was badly struggling with cramps due to the heat, and perhaps close to throwing his wicket away to a tired shot. However, the 23-year-old’s simple ‘instruction’ to Klaasen clearly motivated the big-hitter to dig deep into his reserves. “Why you complaining?!” Jansen told him.
“He was 81 or something and I knew the hard work he did to get there. I told him, ‘you are not going to walk off this ground until you get your hundred. You can do whatever you want after getting there.’ By the end of the innings, I knew what he was talking about; it was tough out there. But I am not going to allow him to work that hard and not get to the century. It was just a matter of 2-3 shots! Luckily, he listened to me. I didn’t think he was going to, but he did. I knew how physically tough it was; I am very happy that he got his hundred,” Jansen said.