Rassie van der Dussen
Rassie van der Dussen (Getty Images)

Rassie van der Dussen rescued South Africa with a fifty on debut in the first T20I against Zimbabwe on Tuesday. With South Africa in trouble after being reduced to 11/2 in nine deliveries at the Buffalo Park, van der Dussen walked in to bat.

During his 56 off 44, he stitched two vital partnerships with captain Faf du Plessis and then with big-hitting David Miller that pushed South Africa to a match-winning 160/6.

“It (debut) is pretty close to perfect,” van der Dussen was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “To get 50 on debut and to top it off with the team winning, which is the most important thing, it is a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier.”

Before donning the national colours, Van der Dussen has featured in global T20 leagues including 2018 Global T20 Canada title and the Caribbean Premier League this season.

The 29-year-old says playing in such tournaments has improved his game. “It has definitely helped my game. You come up against some of the best in the world in these international tournaments. Doing well there gave me the confidence to know that I can perform at that level. This is international cricket, it is a new stage with extra pressure but also with a lot of privilege. It gave me confidence to come out and play my game,” he said.

He further added, “As a player you always have to try to learn and adapt. You want to get better every day. I came up against Zimbabwe’s bowlers for the first time so going into the next few games I will reassess and see where I went wrong and where I can do better. Hopefully I can emulate what I did here in the last two games.”

The second T20I of the three-match series is scheduled for Saturday at Potchefstroom and van der Dussen is hoping the remaining two games will be high-scoring affairs.

“Spin won’t be as effective on the Highveld. We might have some high-scoring games if the wickets are like they usually are in Potch and Benoni. As a batter your scoring areas and tactics change a bit, especially against spin. I can see some big totals if we get good wickets,” he said.