England vs South Africa Cricket World Cup thrashing: Heinrich Klaasen apologises for celebration

South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen said “pure emotion” had got the better of him when he appeared to roar in the face of England fast bowler Mark Wood after completing a spectacular World Cup hundred on Saturday night.

Klaasen destroyed the English attack in a man of the match performance as the Proteas left England on the verge of elimination following a 229-run victory in Mumbai.

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Klaasen, despite being repeatedly troubled by cramp, overcame a day of draining heat and humidity to complete a 61-ball hundred with a six and a four off successive deliveries from Wood.

He then roared in celebration in the middle of the pitch but did so right in the face of Wood, who kept his cool by refusing to respond with similar aggression.

“I didn’t say anything to him,” Klaasen told reporters after a century that was the cornerstone of South Africa’s 399-7, a total that laid the foundation for the 229-run thrashing of the defending champions.

“I did go and apologise immediately and after the game. He (Wood) did hit me twice on the foot, which is hurting quite a bit.”

Klaasen, eventually out for 109, added: “It’s just pure emotion. Yeah, once again, I’m sorry for him and to the English boys. Sometimes it’s difficult to control.

“But I did apologise straight away and spoke to him (Wood) after the game and hopefully from my side everything is sorted.”

England skipper Jos Buttler said: “I don’t think he needed to celebrate in Mark Wood’s face.” He added: “Credit to him, he recognised that a couple of seconds after and he apologised. There are no ill feelings there.”

The total of 399 is the highest ever scored against England.

In response, the Poms collapsed to 6-68 and were 9-170, with 28 overs left, when their run chase was called off with leading wicket-taker Reece Topley unable to bat due to a suspected broken finger.

Topley is expected to miss the rest of the tournament.

This crushing loss was England’s heaviest ODI defeat following a 221-run reverse against Australia at Melbourne in 2002.

Klaasen received brilliant support from Marco Jansen in a sixth-wicket stand of 151 in just 77 balls.

Jansen finished on 75 not out — his maiden ODI fifty — having struck three fours and six sixes.

He then followed up with two early wickets in his more familiar role of left-arm quick.

“That hundred is up there with my best ever,” Klaasen said at the presentation ceremony.

“The conditions were brutal. It’s proper heat and saps the energy out of you.”

Not even Ben Stokes, playing his first game of the tournament, could rescue England this time, with the talisman caught and bowled by Kagiso Rabada for just five.

England’s third defeat in four games, including a shock loss to Afghanistan, left them with a mountain to climb to reach the semi-finals, with skipper Jos Buttler admitting: “It leaves us with no room for error.”

“We probably have to win every other game we play from here on, and that’s the situation we’re in.”

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