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Matt Henry lost in South African translation

Published: 10:37AM Thursday February 16, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • Matt Henry batting for Canterbury (Source: Photosport )
    Matt Henry batting for Canterbury - Source: Photosport
  • Matt Henry appeals for the wicket of Hashim Amla (Source: Photosport)
    Matt Henry appeals for the wicket of Hashim Amla - Source: Photosport
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Only your biggest diehard cricket fan would know who Matt Henry was before last night's Twenty20 match between Canterbury and South Africa.

But after the 20-year-old, coming in at number nine and with his team in a seemingly hopeless position of 63/7 chasing 151 to win, blasted 42 off 17 balls and smashed five 6s to bring Canterbury to the verge of an unlikely win, Henry should never have his name questioned again.

"(There was) some amazing hitting towards the end there," South African captain AB de Villiers said.

"I wanted to finish it off, I put a couple of slips in there and the next minute the ball was flying out of the ground so you got to give credit to whoever that guy was.

"I can't remember his name but he was hitting the ball straight and there was nothing wrong with his technique and for him to bat that low I think they might have to look at the strategy again."

Henry's stock role remains as an opening bowler though and he impressed in that capacity as well, collecting 1-26 off four overs.

However despite his late batting heroics, South Africa were never really in danger of losing their first match of the tour ahead of Friday's first Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Wellington.

"It was a televised game and you don't want to lose to a domestic team in a televised game which is your first game away from home and the first game of the tour," de Villiers admitted.

"It was important for us to do well and I thought we did it all right, not exceptionally well but it was good start for us on this trip."

Their win was set up thanks to opener Richard Levi smashing his way to 63 off 32 balls and then speedster Lonwabo Tsotsobe picking up a hat-trick with his first ball of the third over.

De Villiers gave particular praise to his Levi, who made his debut for South Africa last night.

"Richard Levi played unbelievably well," de Villiers said.

"He set the base for us and we didn't cash in." Levi drove and smacked the ball square with authority, bringing up his half-century at a strike-rate of over 200.

"He could have gone on to score many more had he not backed away to the legside before coming in to play a shot and missing completely."

Looking ahead to Friday and de Villiers knows the challenge will only get bigger.

"New Zealand are an amazing cricket team. At home they really know their conditions extremely well," he said.

"It's going to be tough for us to get on top and when we do get on top, the secret is to cash in. That's going to be key, especially away from home."