Proteas bruiser Klaasen on World Cup qualification: It will be very hard, but we'll definitely try

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  • Proteas batter Heinrich Klaasen said they haven't given up on an automatic 2023 World Cup slot.
  • The Proteas beat India by nine runs in Lucknow on Thursday to get 10 points to take them closer to that goal.
  • Klaasen added their game plans against spin came off.

Proteas batter Heinrich Klaasen admitted that 50-over World Cup qualification will be difficult, but insisted they'll give it their best shot.

The Proteas gained 10 crucial ICC World Cup Super League points when they beat India by nine runs in the first ODI in Lucknow on Thursday.

Klaasen made an excellent 74* off 65 balls which helped the Proteas get to 249/4 in 40 overs, but they need to win all three matches in the series to make a dent.

RECAP | Proteas win first ODI against India by nine runs, collect crucial 10 ODI Super League points

The win moved SA to 59 points, but they stayed in 11th place, three points behind Sri Lanka in 10th, nine behind ninth-placed Ireland, and 29 adrift of the West Indies, who are in eighth place.

Only the top eight teams qualify directly for next year's World Cup in India, with the rest having to go through the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Klaasen acknowledged that they also have to prioritise the T20 World Cup, but they'll give the 50-over World Cup qualification journey everything.

READ | Maharaj cracks top 10 of T20 rankings despite India series defeat

"We need to win nine out of nine matches to have a chance," Klaasen said.

"To qualify for next year's World Cup is going to be very hard, but we'll definitely try. It's our biggest goal.

"Our current goal is the upcoming T20 World Cup, and this is a building process for that as well. Next year's World Cup is also important.

"However, our focus is on the upcoming World Cup, so we're not worried about things that we can't control.

"We want to win each game in a South Africa jersey."

The Ekana Cricket Stadium surface proved to be a difficult one for both teams, especially up front.

India bounced back from 51/4 through excellent innings from Shreyas Iyer (50) and Sanju Samson (86*) while SA fell to 71/3 before Quinton de Kock (48), David Miller (75*) and Klaasen drove the recovery.

ALSO READ | 'Calm' Proteas down India in rain-hit 1st ODI

The game had 10 overs cut from each innings because of inclement weather that impacted the start, but Klaasen said they came with game plans that came off.

"The ball spun a lot, so we've been trying hard to get better in these conditions," Klaasen said.

"The plan was to sweep both ways and it worked tonight. I'm glad it did, but we were going to go back to our different game plans against spin.

"We utilised the right game plan to take the danger ball away, which was the one on a good length and it spun quite a bit."

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