Sydney: Rilee Rossouw has taken the long road to the Twenty20 World Cup and the in-form South African batsman is determined to enjoy the ride for as long as he can.
The 33-year-old lefthander scored the first century of the tournament to help the Proteas to a thumping 104-run win over Bangladesh on Thursday and put them back on course for a place in the semi-finals.
His innings of 109 continued the purple patch of form he has enjoyed since his recall to South African colours this season after five years playing English county cricket.
Eight sixes against Bangladesh
Rossouw, who made the decision in 2017 to walk away from his country and take up the deal to play in England, was overcome with emotion when he reached the century mark at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“I’m a very passionate man,” he told reporters. “And getting across the line, it meant a lot to me. It means a lot to my family back home.
“It’s just been a good roller coaster ride. Just to play with South Africa again, it’s been amazing.”
Second T20I ton of the year
Always a hard-hitting batsman, Rossouw hammered eight sixes in Thursday’s innings on his way to his second T20 century of the year, the first an unbeaten 100 against India in Indore earlier this month.
“Sometimes things go your way,” he added. “And this year has been like an unbelievable roller-coaster ride for me. So happy. So proud to be sitting here. Never thought about it in a million years.”
His form augurs well for South Africa as they go into their third match of the tournament against Group 2 leaders India in Perth on Sunday.
Rossouw, who played 51 short format internationals between 2014 and 2016, said there were times over the last five years when he thought he might never represent South Africa again.
“When you give up your right to play for your country and you expect, okay, that is going to be my last chance,” he added.
“So you’ve got to cherish any moment that you play for your country.
“It’s been a great journey. It’s been a long journey. But it’s not finished yet, hopefully. So we’re taking it one game at a time and, hopefully, get another opportunity to do well.”