South Africa and West Indies produced an instant classic high-scoring T20I match at Centurion on Sunday. West Indies set an unassailable target of 259 for the Proteas. However, the hosts went on to defy the odds to chase the target with seven balls to spare.
After leaking 258 runs with the ball, South Africa produced a stirring run chase, led by a maiden T20I ton from Quinton de Kock, to record the highest-ever run chase in T20Is. De Kock's quick-fire knock of 100 (44) laid the groundwork and acted as the supporting pillar throughout the humongous chase.
After the match, Quinton de Kock reflected back on his performance as well as his scintillating opening partnership with Reeza Hendricks.
"Quite special, I have been searching for it for a while. We don't play too much T20I cricket at Centurion but to do that at my home ground was quite special. Just he did what Reeza does. It was quite special out there. Just pick the right options, just give our side a bit of hope and that is what we needed. Playing at Centurion, we know we can get a lot of runs here. The ball travels here quite a bit. We knew we could catch up here and especially with the nature of the wicket. It was quite a road out there. (On scoring his first T20I ton)", De Kock said.
Racking up 102 in the first six overs in the run chase, the highest score by any team in the Powerplay in T20Is, de Kock and Reeza Hendricks kickstarted South Africa's innings with style. Reeza matched De Kock's pace of scoring runs throughout the match. His knock of 68(28) acted as the driving force even after De Kock lost his wicket in the 11th over.
The opening stand of 152 came off just 10.5 overs as South Africa suddenly turned into favourites to win the game.
While the visitors made a comeback of sorts by dismissing Rossouw, Hendricks and Miller in fairly quick succession, skipper Aiden Markram continued the carnage to lead his side to a memorable win.
Aiden Markram South Africa's skipper emphasized the importance of Reeza's and De Kock's innings and the emotions that they went through during the match.
"Great game to be a part of. We witnessed two very good knocks today and they will be remembered. Even if you bowl good balls, they still travel, sometimes you have to laugh it off. The guys were relaxed. They were saying that it's 10-15 runs short. Credit to the openers for getting us off to a good start. (On Reeza Hendricks) He does it his own way," Markram said.
"We talk about playing an attacking brand of cricket, but he also showed that doesn't mean that you have to slog. Reeza once again proved today the type of player he is. He's all class and times the ball beautifully. It is going to be an exciting game on Tuesday night, not sure about the conditions but it will be a great game. We appreciate the support from the crowd and we hope they enjoyed the two games here," Markram continued.
With the three-match T20I series back on level terms (1-1) South Africa will face West Indies in the final T20I match at the Wanderers Stadium on Tuesday. (ANI)