De Kock’s cru­cial role

Deadly at­tacker car­ries South Africa’s bat­ting hopes in Cricket World Cup

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

QUINTON de Kock will seek to re­tain his golden form deep into the Cricket World Cup as his runs at the top of the bat­ting or­der will be cru­cial to any re­al­is­tic South African ti­tle chal­lenge in Eng­land and Wales.

Wick­et­keeper-bats­man De Kock (26) has emerged as South Africa’s most deadly at­tack­ing weapon in their top six, with his abil­ity to clear the bound­ary ropes cou­pled with stylish left-handed drives and cuts against the new ball.

His form in the South African sum­mer was eye-catch­ing, pass­ing 80 in four of his last six One-Day In­ter­na­tional in­nings against Pak­istan and Sri Lanka, in­clud­ing one cen­tury, and reach­ing 50 in another visit to the crease.

It has seen him rise to num­ber four on the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil’s ODI bat­ting rank­ings, be­hind only In­dia’s Vi­rat Kohli and Ro­hit Sharma and Ross Taylor from New Zealand.

It’s not just his weight of runs, but also the pace at which he scores. He has one gear. Fast.

Those 436 runs in his last six knocks came off 379 balls, with the only dis­ap­point­ment his in­abil­ity to con­vert more of those scores over 50 into three fig­ures.

That is be­cause his ca­reer record is strong in that re­gard, with 21 half-cen­turies and 14 hun­dreds in 106 in­nings at a strike-rate that is a shade un­der 96.

One of those cen­turies was a re­mark­able 178 from 113 balls against Aus­tralia in 2016, an in­nings in which he hit 16 fours and 11 sixes and was only ended Proteas’ Quinton de Kock hopes to re­gain his form at the World Cup. as he chased a dou­ble cen­tury be­fore the suc­cess­ful run chase came to a close.

De Kock was the third high­est scorer in the re­cently com­pleted In­dian Premier League as he helped Mum­bai In­di­ans to the ti­tle, his 529 runs com­ing at a strike-rate of 132.91.

With­out the ac­cel­er­a­tion in the mid­dle-or­der of AB de Vil­liers, South Africa will rely heav­ily on De Kock’s abil­ity to launch the in­nings from the out­set on what are ex­pected to be bats­men-friendly wick­ets in Eng­land.

South Africa will be buoyed by De Kock’s record against sub-con­ti­nent teams, his abil­ity to play spin key to that suc­cess, and an im­por­tant fac­tor in a bat­ting line-up that has shown frail­ties against slow bowl­ing.

He is also one of the lead­ing wick­et­keep­ers in the world and with no back-up in South Africa’s World Cup squad, faces a busy six weeks with the bat and the gloves. — Reuters.

PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES

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