After Hampshire defeated Kent by 61 runs to clinch the Royal London One Day Cup at Lord’s, no-one was more overjoyed than century-maker Rilee Rossouw
My colleague Bradley Adams has described the bad luck that dogged South-African born Rossouw leading up to the Final – losing two front teeth when he missed a catch in the semi-final and then getting stuck for 80 minutes on his own in a lift on the eve of the big match.
They say that trouble comes in threes; but whoever “they” are, they don’t always get it right. And what did old Bill Shakespeare know when he said: “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions”?
On that basis, Rossouw should have suffered a golden duck and dropped a couple more catches leading to a Kent win and probably split his trousers climbing the pavilion steps giving Sky TV a wardrobe misfunction scoop.
Instead, Rossouw starred for Hampshire, sharing a crucial opening partnership of 136 with Tom Alsop and completing an almost faultless century. His 125 came off just 114 balls with nine fours and three sixes. When he was finally out in the 42nd over, Hampshire were already well on the way to what proved a winning total.
Interviewed after the match, Rossouw’s delight was apparent:
“It couldn’t get any better. I wanted it very badly and I’m glad that the team pulled it off. I have had too many silver medals in my career. And there’s nothing better than a hundred at Lord’s especially when the team wins.”
He was quick to pay tribute to his opening partner, the 22-year-old Alsop.
“In that partnership, Tom looked ten years older in cricketing terms, in the way that he played the situation and took the pressure off me.”
Rossouw’s success was proof that the decision to abandon his international career and join the south coast county was the right one both for him and for Hampshire, following on as it did from a century in Hampshire’s four-day game against Lancashire earlier in the week.
“It’s good to be paying back what Hampshire have put into me,” he said.
As he went off to celebrate the win, it seemed clear that there are likely to be plenty more runs in the future to justify that investment.
Oh, and by the way, his smile confirmed that he has a good dentist!