Klaasen belts Northerns to opening victory

OUDTSHOORN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 16: Heinrich Klassen of Northerns celebrate 50 runs during the 2016 Africa T20 Cup, Pool B match between Kenya and Northerns at Recreation Ground on September 16, 2016 in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

OUDTSHOORN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 16: Heinrich Klassen of Northerns celebrate 50 runs during the 2016 Africa T20 Cup, Pool B match between Kenya and Northerns at Recreation Ground on September 16, 2016 in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

HEINRICH KLAASEN blasted a quick-fire 76 off 42 balls (8 fours and 2 sixes) to set up Northerns for the start of a successful defence of their Africa T20 Cup title as they beat Kenya by 32 runs in the opening match of Pool B at the Oudtshoorn Recreation Ground on Friday.

With Klaasen leading the way and with good support from his captain, Aiden Markram, who shared a 65-run partnership for the third wicket, Northerns were able to post an above par total of 164/6 to which Kenya replied with 132/3 which was just sufficient to deny Northerns a bonus point.

Once Markram was out Klaasen continued on his merry way being largely responsible for getting Northerns past the key 150-run mark.

Kenya made a good fist of trying to get the runs when they scored 38/0 in the power play overs which was slightly better than Northerns 36/1. But once the two spinners, Ruben Claassen (1/26) and Thomas Kaber (2/24), came into the attack they fell well behind the required rate and the match was effectively decided with an over to spare when Kenya needed 41 off the last 6 balls.

Irfan Karim (65 off 63 balls, 5 fours and a six) batted through the Kenyan innings for almost half of his side’s total and he and Dhiren Gondaria put on an unbroken 67 runs for the fourth wicket – the biggest partnership of the match.

The best bowler for Kenya was the veteran, Collins Obuyo, who may be 35 but still bowls his leg breaks with great effect and he claimed the key wicket of Markram with a clever quicker delivery when the batsman advanced down the pitch.

The one area Northerns will want to improve is their outfielding with two catches being dropped and a lot of loose returns to the wicketkeeper that Klaasen had to take on the half-volley.