Klaasen credits hard work behind the scenes for SA20 success

Klaasen credits hard work behind the scenes for SA20 success

Proteas star Heinrich Klaasen reflected on his superlative 2024 SA20 campaign that saw him named Player of the Season.

It bookmarked an extraordinary period for Klaasen that began right here in the inaugural SA20 Season 1. 

Klaasen lit up Centurion with a sparkling ton in Season 1, before heading off to the Indian Premier League where he repeated the act for Sunrisers Hyderabad. There was a three-peat when Klaasen struck another century in The Hundred to showcase his ability across all conditions. 

But he was not done yet. Klaasen built up to the ICC 50-overs World Cup in India last year with an astonishing 174 off 83 balls against Australia in India before exploding in Mumbai with another rollicking 67-ball 109 against England.

Klaasen's purple patch continued in SA20 Season 2 where he bludgeoned the opposition's bowlers to all parts of the six venues around the country, as he finished with 447 runs at a strike-rate of 207.90.

The consistency of Klaasen's striking, which yielded a record-breaking 37 sixes, has been incredible and he attributes his success to the hard work behind the scenes. 

"The swing has been good the last couple of years. I think better decision-making and execution has helped me. It helps when you execute the right plan you have in mind. It took a lot of hard work to get to where I am at this moment but I am also in a good space mentally," Klassen said. 

Although Klaasen was unable to power DSG to their maiden SA20 championship, the 32-year-old was pleased with the team's overall performance. 

"It's nice to perform, but it's only worth it when your team gets over the line, otherwise the performance means nothing to me. It is a little bit disappointing, but there's more important things in life than winning trophies. It has been a good tournament, our guys played fantastically, but the better team won on the day," he said. 

"The boys have been fantastic, together with the coaches, and supporting staff, it's a thankless job. We can't ask for a better tournament in South Africa. The SA20 is up there with the world's best."

Sunrisers duo Ottniel Baartman and Marco Jansen were also honoured on Saturday evening for their heroic performances in helping the Eastern Cape team defend their title in Season 2. 

Baartman was named Bowler of the Season after claiming 18 wickets at an average of 11.78, while Jansen collected the Rising Star of the Season for his 20 wickets and his 105 runs at a strike-rate of 177.96.

"We had a number of injuries in the team, including Sisanda Magala and Craig Overton. I knew I had to step it up. The team played very nicely, the way they set the tone with the new ball throughout the tournament was unbelievable," Baartman said. 

Equally, Jansen paid tribute to his teammates - in true Sunrisers' fashion - for helping him to achieve the personal recognition. 

"I couldn't have done it without the team as personal performances can only take you so far.  Having those two (Dan Worrall and Baartman) with me is an awesome feeling. Just to know that if I'm not on it on any given occasion, they'll carry me," the 23-year-old said.

"With the bat, I just go out and try and enjoy it. If it comes off, it comes off. It's an awesome feeling."

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