Rassie misses elite 100 but makes his mark

Rassie van der Dussen
Rassie van der Dussen

When Rassie van der Dussen reached 90 against Pakistan at St George's Park on Saturday, he was the fourth South African player to forge that close to a century in his debut one-day international innings.

Thirteen balls later, he became the only one of the four not to go on to three figures.

Colin Ingram made 124 against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein in October 2010, Temba Bavuma's 113 came against Ireland in Benoni in September 2016, and Sri Lanka were on the receiving end of Reeza Hendricks's 102 in Pallekele in August last year.

Van der Dussen's career record will always show that he got out for 93 in his first ODI, and quite some innings it was.

Nobody on the South African domestic scene hits the ball harder than the Lions' lasher has been doing for almost 11 years, and he didn't struggle to bring that approach to the highest level on Saturday after overcoming an unsure start to his innings.

Van der Dussen ripped his runs off 101 balls and hammered six fours and three sixes hit sweetly and through the line of the ball.

His departure from that method was his downfall - his bat splayed a touch too horizontally in dealing with a full toss from Hasan Ali and he shoved a catch down long-off's throat.

"It was the kind of wicket that's always difficult for somebody coming in," Hashim Amla told reporters in Port Elizabeth.

"It takes about 20, 30 balls for you to get the pace of the wicket and find some sort of rhythm. He managed to get through that and he batted really beautifully."

Van der Dussen left the field to a rousing reception from the crowd, which he had the good manners to acknowledge properly.