South Africa's cricketers delivered a spectacular performance as they secured a resounding 229-run victory over the defending champions, England, in a highly anticipated ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 clash at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, October 21.
The hero of the day was undoubtedly Heinrich Klaasen, who produced a sensational innings of 109 runs off just 67 deliveries. His remarkable performance propelled South Africa to a formidable total of 399/7, marking a historic high for runs conceded by England in the ODI format.
Klaasen reached his century in style, smashing a six and a four off consecutive deliveries from Mark Wood. His exuberant celebration, roaring in the face of Wood, drew attention and raised some eyebrows.
However, Klaasen was quick to recognize the emotional outburst and swiftly extended an apology to the English pacer. He explained that his reaction was a result of being hit on the foot by Wood twice during his innings.
Difficult to contain pure emotions: Heinrich Klaasen after match-winning century
“I didn't say anything to him. I did go and apologize immediately and after the game. He did hit me twice on the foot, which is hurting quite a bit, it's just pure emotion. And yeah, once again, I'm sorry for him and to the English boys, but it's pure emotion that just came out and sometimes it's difficult to control. But I did apologize straight away and spoke to him after the game, and hopefully from my side everything is sorted,” Klaasen clarified.
England's skipper, Jos Buttler, recognized that Klaasen's celebration was a product of intense emotion. He acknowledged that while the celebration might not have been ideal, Klaasen swiftly realized his mistake and extended an apology.
“I think he was obviously emotional to score 100. I don't think he needed to celebrate in Mark Wood's face, and credit to him, he recognized that a couple of seconds after, and he apologized. They played a great knock, and I think he apologized straight away, so there's no ill feelings there,” Buttler commented.
The match showcased the fierce competition and the emotions running high in the Cricket World Cup, with both teams displaying their exceptional cricketing skills. Heinrich Klaasen's innings and his subsequent display of sportsmanship added an intriguing element to this thrilling contest, leaving cricket fans with a memorable experience to savour.