Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo produced a brilliant 127-run stand for the sixth wicket against Pakistan at Kingsmead to draw the ODI series level at 1-1, and the pair have credited each other for their achievement.
The pair lifted the Proteas from 80-5 to 207-5 with a stand of 127 to help level the series 1-1 with three matches to play, and Phehlukwayo (who took a career-best 4-22 and scored a personal best unbeaten 69 to snap up the Player of the Match award) credited Van der Dussen’s calming presence during a high-pressure situation for helping the all-rounder stay in the moment and to execute his game plans.
‘Personally, I wanted to be positive,’ said Phehlukwayo of his intent at the crease. ‘It was a hill to climb, there were still a lot of runs needed, but we still had a number of balls in hand. Without Rassie there it would have been really tough. Credit must go to him, I think he played an unbelievable knock.’
It has been a frustrating stretch with the bat since his debut in 2016, with his previous best ODI score the 42 he scored at the same ground back in 2016. For the 22-year-old, it is a relief that the work behind the scenes is beginning to reap the rewards ahead of an important World Cup year.
‘I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want to perform and contribute to the team with bat and ball,’ he admitted. ‘All I can do is work hard behind the scenes and stick to my game plans. When I am out in the middle I look to implement that.
‘I think it is the best performance I have delivered in a Proteas jersey,’ he continued. ‘I’m glad that finally the hard work I have been putting in behind the scenes is paying off. There was a bit of luck but that is how the game goes. Hopefully, I can take the momentum going forward.’
At the other end, Van der Dussen looked comfortable and composed as he continued his dream start to ODI cricket with his second consecutive score of 80 and above.
‘I’ve played a lot of cricket in my life,” said Van der Dussen after the match. ‘As the levels go up, the basics and fundamentals stay the same. When I am out there I try to play the situation and try to stay calm and cool under pressure. Whether it’s an international or domestic game I try to approach it the same.
‘He is an aggressive type of player,’ he said of Phehlukwayo. ‘He came in and changed the momentum of the game. He was the perfect player to come in. We always knew that if he came off he would get us close.’
Photo: Anesh Debiky/AFP/Getty Images