Coming into the inconsequential third T20I at Indore, a lot was riding on Rilee Rossouw. The stylish batter had made a successful international comeback after five-and-a-half years against England when he hit 96 not out at Cardiff to set up a famous win for South Africa.
But after securing his ticket to the T20 World Cup in Australia, Rossouw had suddenly hit a roadblock. Successive ducks against India in Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati meant pressure was on him to deliver the goods at Indore.
On Tuesday night, he did it in sizzling fashion, smashing a century in 48 balls for South Africa to get 227/3, the fourth-highest total for the visitors and set the base for a 49-run win over India.The lengths didn't matter as Rossouw was flicking, pulling, smacking and swiping hard to hit seven fours and eight sixes in an unbeaten knock at a strike-rate of 208.33 to be the fifth South Africa batter to hit a T20I century.
"As a professional sportsman you are going to have bad times. It is just about backing yourself having the confidence in your ability no matter what type of form you are in. I had a chat with our assistant coach about form and confidence, which I really believe in."
"Confidence plays a big part in scoring runs. I really believe in my ability, I have showcased it throughout the world and in every continent I have played. It is never a confidence issue for me, it is just form, and want to say thank you to the staff and selectors for backing me and knowing the ability I do have," said Rossouw about his blazing knock in the post-match press conference.
Asked if he had an IPL stint in mind for next year, Rossouw brushed it off. "The auction is not in my control. It was not even on my mind. I was just trying to get one run in the match first (after bagging successive ducks). It panned out pretty well for me."
Rossouw had some special praise for opener Quinton de Kock, with whom he shared a 90-run stand in the innings. "The one shot that he swept across and hit it for six...it felt like tonight it was going to be something special.
Great to see him in such fine form right before the T20 World Cup."The form of captain Temba Bavuma, who got consecutive ducks before getting a single digit score in Indore, has been a big talking point ahead of the World Cup.
But Rossouw doesn't think Bauvma's position as opening batter and captain come under the scanner."I don't think it affects the team that much. We spoke about it. If someone is going to have a good day, they can carry weight off someone who is not in great form.
It takes one knock and Temba can in the form of his life going into the World Cup. We need to be there for him as a team. Every professional goes through this and it is about backing him, his ability. His captaincy has been really good."
Rossouw signed off by explaining the learnings South Africa had from the 2-1 series loss which would help them in blueprint for T20 World Cup in Australia. "In the first game, we were kind of shell shocked about how India really swung the ball.
We went back to the drawing the board and we really thought about how we are going to approach the next two games.""In the second game (at Guwahati), we learnt more and on Tuesday, we were able put up a performance together with both bat and ball. So, these are the learnings we will take in from here."