• Van Tonder a shining light from Bloem

    Raynard van Tonder turned heads when he scored 164 against Sri Lanka for the CSA Invitational XI. This is him charting his continued progress through the ranks, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.  

    The 20-year-old had an amazing season thus far since being given the opportunity by the Knights to prove himself.

    He was on the fringes last season, but finally made his breakthrough in the 4-Day Franchise Series with regular starts for the Bloemfontein side in 2018-19. The youngster scored four half-centuries and showed true grit to recover from a debut duck to rack up 260 runs in four matches.

    The former SA U19 captain was given a rare opportunity in a CSA invitational against Sri Lanka in Benoni on Thursday and he took his chance phenomenally. The youngster saved the invitation XI from total humiliation by scoring a massive 164 off 156 balls in opening the batting for his side.

    Marcus Ackerman (42) and Leus du Plooy (36) and Kyle Simmons (28), were the only batsmen to go into double figures, as Van Tonder powered his side past 300.

    ALSO READ: Future Star: Raynard van Tonder

    Speaking exclusively to SACricketmag.com, Van Tonder explained his frame of mind during the knock.

    ‘To be honest, there wasn’t much going through my head, I was just really excited about getting the opportunity,’ said Van Tonder.

    ‘When I got past 50 I just wanted to keep going and really make use of it, especially after we had a team chat just before we went to bat, and Shukri [Conrad] said these games can really have a big impact on our careers, [of course it] would’ve been great if we could’ve won the game.’

    His knock was extra classy given the circumstances, which saw Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga (5-35) rip through the hosts.

    Van Tonder explained the experience of his first taste of international cricket.

    ‘I really enjoyed the challenge, playing against an international attack is obviously not something I’ve done before, and I think it actually helped me to stay focused really, really well,’ he added.

    ‘But also facing someone like Malinga, you can see the difference in the way he bowled throughout and the way he hit his yorkers at the back end.’

    The young batsman has a clear picture of how he needs to approach his batting in future.

    ‘I feel my goal at the moment is quite simple,and that is to score big runs wherever I play and help the team win,’ he said. ‘I can’t really control getting picked for sides, but I’m sure if I score runs consistently and win games that will happen.’

    Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images

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    Khalid Mohidin