Batsman Heinrich Klaasen appreciated the support of debutant Kyle Verreynne and the experienced David Miller, as South Africa beat Australia by 74 runs in Saturday's first ODI at Boland Park in Paarl.
The result allowed South Africa an early lead in the three-match series. The hosts are priced at 1.90 by bet365 to win the series ahead of the second ODI at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
Klaasen struck 123 not out from 114 deliveries, which included seven fours and three sixes. He shared a half-century and century partnership with Verreynne and Miller, respectively.
“It is a great feeling, that's why that celebration came out. It was pure emotion for all the hard work done as a youngster. It is almost like another comeback after two weeks again,” said Klaasen, who recently recovered from a hip injury.
“I was just sticking to my game plan and performing for the team. Kyle also played incredibly well on debut. We just had to go deep. David let me play my game. He took a lot of pressure off me.”
Klaasen on de Kock
The 28-year-old Klaasen insisted South Africa are not over-reliant on captain Quinton de Kock at the top of the order in limited-overs cricket – and acknowledged the support of head coach Mark Boucher. Klaasen and Boucher worked together at the Titans before the Proteas.
“It's not the Quinton show. He is an incredible player but we can't put all the pressure on them. The coach has been asking for someone else step up. Quinton can't bat for 50 overs on his own,” he added.
“It's always good to know that your coach backs you. We have got a good relationship, which changed in the last couple of months before he came up.”
South Africa limited Australia to 217 all out. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi took three key wickets. Spinner Keshav Maharaj opened the bowling in the absence of fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who has been sidelined by a groin injury.
“I am pleased with how the boys went about it. Lungi was also exceptional with the ball. It is a matter of being consistent with what we do, then we'll be alright. Lungi is enjoying that leadership role. It is good to see him like this,” concluded de Kock.