Mr Destruction: Why Heinrich Klaasen holds the key to SA20 final

The middle order batter has scored at a phenomenal 208.87 strike-rate during this year’s competition, with four 50s.

Ryan Rickelton of MI Cape Town may be the leading run-scorer in this year’s SA20 competition with 530 runs from 10 knocks, but the man who’s lit up the second edition of the T20 event is Heinrich Klaasen of Durban’s Super Giants…and he’s also the man who holds the key in Saturday’s final.

If Klaasen comes off with the bat for DSG, his team will more than likely win the final at Newlands (5.30pm start), but if he fails and Sunrisers Eastern Cape get him early, then the men from Gqeberha and the defending champions will more than likely go back-to-back.

Heinrich Klaasen: ‘Sheer destruction’ at the crease

It is not often that one man in a cricket match can hold so much sway, but such has been the form of, and sheer destruction caused by Klaasen, that the outcome of the final very much depends on what he is able to accomplish at the crease.

New level: Klaasen hailed as ‘best T20 batter’

The 32-year-old middle order batter has taken his game to a new level during this year’s SA20 competition, and it’s no surprise many are calling him the best T20 batter in the game.

Former England international Kevin Pietersen said on X (Twitter):

“There isn’t a better batter in T20 cricket in the world! Klaasen is the BOSS!”

And fellow Proteas teammate and SA20 opponent, spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, feels there is no one better in the game at the moment.

He said on X (Twitter): “Not sure what the result of this game (between Joburg Super Kings and DSG on Thursday) will be but they can already give Heinrich Klaasen the @SA20_League player of the tournament already along with any other awards that are up for grabs. No one has had an answer for him this comp 🤯🤯🤯.”

Staggering numbers

Klaasen’s numbers this season are staggering: He’s smashed 447 runs at an average of 44.7 and a strike-rate of 208.87. He’s faced only 214 balls, gone to 50 four times in his 12 knocks and hit 25 fours and 37 sixes.

Rickelton, with 530 runs and average 58.88, with five 50s and 41 fours and 34 sixes, has also enjoyed a phenomenal campaign, but the difference is he has opened the batting for MI Cape Town, while Klaasen has played in the middle order, batting at four, five or six in the order.

In just three of his 12 knocks so far did Klaasen fail to score anything of substance: 13 not out off six balls, one from three and six from seven; for the rest, he has contributed significantly every time he’s walked out to bat.

Klaasen’s big scores this campaign have been 85 (35), 64 (41), 31 (17), 30* (nine), 50 (17), 30 (18), 40 (16), 23 (15) and 74 (30).

It is thus clear that if Aiden Markram’s Sunrisers are going to win back-to-back SA20 titles on Saturday, they’re going to have to get Klaasen out early.

If not, and the DSG batter comes off again as he has done so many times already this season, the title may well be heading to Kingsmead this year.