T20 World Cup – Ban vs SA – ‘An incredible rollercoaster ride’

It was a remarkable return to international cricket for Rilee Rossouw. After a six-year absence, during which he struck a Kolpak deal in county cricket that didn’t go down well with CSA, he has now put together back-to-back T20I centuries, alongside an unbeaten 96, in just seven innings.

His numbers for the year are stunning: 340 runs out of 68 with a strike rate of 184.78. In a way, those numbers are even more extraordinary, considering he made two ducks against India. He got the crucial number 3 slot and made it his own.

All five of his T20 hundreds have come since 2019. In that time, he averages 38.55 with a strike rate of 156.88; until the beginning of 2019, the corresponding figures were 26.16 and 131.07. He is a player transformed in this format.

He had come within one stroke of a century in the second innings of his comeback, against England. But against India in Indore, shortly before this tournament, he hit a 48-ball hundred. Now, less than a month later, he’s done it again and there was a lot of emotion on the SCG, an area that had served him well before. He hit three times here for South Africa, passing fifty each time.

“I’m a very passionate man and getting across the line meant a lot to me, meant a lot to my family back home,” he said. “It was a good roller coaster ride just to play for South Africa again, it was great. You know sometimes things go the way you want and this year has been like an incredible roller coaster ride for me. So happy, so proud to be here. Never thought about a million years.”

“You have to expose yourself to that kind of environment. And I’ve been lucky enough in the last six or seven years of my career to be in that position, and it just made me a better player.”

Rossouw on his ability against spin

It didn’t take long for it to get going, the joy Bangladesh felt about removing Temba Bavuma in the first place quickly evaporated [that issue is not going away for South Africa]. On his eighth ball, Rossouw knocked Hasan Mahmud right to the ground six times; in the next over there were two more, swept this time, from Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

“If I get a line early in my innings, I’m kind of, okay, I could be here today, and then I just grow from that confidence,” Rossouw said.

A brief break before rain didn’t really disrupt the flow, although there was some brief consolidation after the power play with Rossouw unable to find the limit in successive overs. Things got particularly bad for Bangladesh in the 11th over, when Shakib Al Hasan, who had restrained himself, probably wished he hadn’t brought himself up when he was twice put in the stands over the side of the leg – the second from a huge toss without ball. To make matters worse, Bangladesh was penalized five points when the wicketkeeper, Nurul Hasan, stepped back on the free hit, changing the field, which is not allowed.

“I thought he played well, played his cards” [as he] Rossouw said of Shakib’s decision not to bowl early. “If I were in his shoes, I probably wouldn’t want to bowl for myself or Quinton de Kock either. He was hoping that maybe he would get a breakthrough from one of the other bowlers… the longer it took him to get into the game, the more attacking we would be.”Rilee Rossouw spent half a century with 52 balls, Bangladesh vs South Africa, T20 World Cup, Sydney, October 27, 2022

“So every moment you should cherish to play for your country”•ICC via Getty

Rossouw’s game against spin is among the best in the world: As of 2021, only he, Alex Hales and Marcus Stoinis have averaged 35 plus and hit 150 when faced with spin. The amount of league and franchise cricket he has played around the world during his international absence played a significant role, developing skills, especially a full range of sweeps, which are often not self-evident to batters raised in South Africa. circumstances.

“I think it’s somewhere I’ve definitely improved because I’ve played a lot of cricket in the subcontinent,” he said. “So I feel more comfortable now than I might have been when I was in my twenties. You have to expose yourself to that kind of environment. And I’ve been fortunate in the last six or seven years of my career to be in being in that position, and it just made me a better player.”

Rossouw rushed into the 90s with three limits in four balls against Taskin Ahmed; the first emphasizes great placement through the point, the second brute force on the ground. He was within range of beating his 48-ball attempt just a few weeks ago. In the end, the last five runs took a little longer – as part of a bigger delay in South Africa’s innings – but a tap in the outside gave him the point he preferred. There was time for an eighth six before he found a fielder.

“When you give up your right to play for your country, you expect: OK, that’s my last chance,” he said. “So every moment you should cherish to play for your country. It’s been a long journey, but hopefully it’s not over yet.”

Rossouw has missed some of his best years at international level, but he is doing everything he can to make up for lost time.

Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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