SA's Janneman Malan plays a shot during the second ODI match between Sri Lanka and the Proteas at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, September 4 2021. Picture: ISURU SAMEERA PEIRIS/GALLO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
SA's Janneman Malan plays a shot during the second ODI match between Sri Lanka and the Proteas at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka, September 4 2021. Picture: ISURU SAMEERA PEIRIS/GALLO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Proteas batsman Janneman Malan is either just being humble or is otherwise honestly unable to put a finger on the reasons for the blistering start to his burgeoning one-day international (ODI) career.      

After eight ODI innings, Malan has scored 627 runs, which includes three centuries and two half centuries, and he boasts the highest score with an unbeaten 177 at an imposing average of 104.50.

He registered his third ODI century with a winning score of 121 off 135 balls in the Proteas’ 67-run (DLS method) victory over Sri Lanka on Saturday to help SA level the series 1-1 with one match to go on Tuesday.

Malan was so impressive in the win that he was part of two key partnerships of 98 and 86 with Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen respectively, and he was rightly named player of the match.

“You don’t want to think about it too hard, you just have to break it down game by game,” he said when asked about the impressive start to his ODI career.

“I really don’t know what to make of it, but every game is about scoring runs and taking wickets and we always try to do that. I am fortunate to have such a good squad of players in the Proteas and after every match we start over and do what you have to do in the next game.”

Looking back at the win over Sri Lanka, Malan thanked his top order partner Hendricks while adding that it was a solid team performance.

“Thanks to my partner Reeza, his input was really valuable and almost going at a run a ball. I think the batting unit did really well in the first match against the spin, and again in this game.

“In the first game, I just watched what guys like Aiden [Markram], Rassie [Van der Dussen] and Heinrich [Klaasen] did in these conditions and I learnt from their efforts in the first match.

“I don’t think our bowlers bowled too badly in the first game, I just think we underestimated how full you can go on this wicket. Credit to the bowlers in this game because we started great and they bowled really well,” he said.

“The same credit goes to the batters, who also played well after the loss of Aiden and in the back end of the innings. We are in a good space at the moment and it’s always good when the team can tick on both fronts.”

The Proteas will be looking for a win in the final match on Tuesday and claim 10 more ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points, which go towards qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

“One of the things that helps is to have realistic goals and expectations so that we don’t have one in a thousand days. We want to have targets that we get, and if we hit them we have a chance of winning the game. During the last game we are going to try to keep on polishing and polishing.”

Keshav Maharaj took over as stand-in captain after the injury to Temba Bavuma, and Malan said the Dolphins spinner led from the front.

“It is sad that Temba had to leave with what happened, but Keshav has proved on the domestic front that he is a good captain. He is a leader in the group, he is a calm head and a very smart cricketer. It’s good to have a guy like that leading the team and he did great and it showed on the field.”


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