Zaheer Khan vs Dale Steyn: India-South Africa match in ICC World Cup 2011

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Robin Soderling

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  • Zaheer Khan vs Dale Steyn: India-South Africa match in ICC World Cup 2011

Zaheer Khan vs Dale Steyn: India-South Africa match in ICC World Cup 2011

India’s Zaheer Khan and South Africa’s Dale Steyn, who are capable of swinging the ball both ways, can play a key role in their respective team’s win when both the teams will face each other in the ICC World Cup 2011’s Group B match on 12 March, 2011.

India, who are leading their group, have played 4 matches of the mega tournament so far. In the opening match, they defeated co-host Bangladesh while their second match ended in a draw against England. In the third and fourth competition, they defeated minnows Ireland and the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the Proteas, who have played 3 matches of the event so far, defeated the West Indies in the first encounter, while in the next game they thrashed the Netherlands and lost the third match to England.

Both the strong teams have a wide range of talents in their respective squads including top class batsmen, pacers and spinners.

Zaheer Khan has been spearheading the Indian pace attack and giving a remarkable performance on the subcontinent’s pitches. He joined the Indian cricket team in 2000 but later in 2003-04 he remained out of the team due to hamstring injuries.

Moreover, the 32-year-old has so far given some significant batting and bowling performances in his cricketing career.

The pacer has played 183 One Day Internationals, claiming 263 wickets at an average of 29.02. He produced his best bowling performance (5-42) against Sri Lanka at Margao on 14 February, 2007. In 18 World Cups’ matches, he has so far picked up 34 wickets at an average of 19.11.

His average in last two years went up to 40.48 and he claimed only 25 wickets in 23 matches. Zaheer along with the other pacers of his team guided Indian team to the final of 2003 edition of the World Cup and became the fourth highest wicket-taker of the event. In that showpiece event, he claimed 18 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 20 runs per dismissal.

Former Indian batsman and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar describes the pacer as saying, "Zaheer is the most dependable Indian seamer, and one who the opposition respects. He will rarely have a bad day with the ball.”

The bowler’s batting average of 19.46 at number 10 is the highest among the batsmen in ODIs. He is also showing an appreciable performance in the ongoing mega tournament with 11 wickets in 4 matches so far.

On the other side, South Africa’s Dale Steyn, who maintains his speed between 145km/h and 150km/h, is one of their leading pacers.

Steyn has given remarkable performance while bowling in the second innings, claiming 36 wickets at an average of 24.72 but his first innings average is over 35.

In 50 ODIs, he picked up 74 wickets at an average of 28.82. Steyn’s best bowling performance (4-16) was against Bangladesh at Potchefstroom on 7 November 2008.

The ICC World Cup 2011 is the first mega event of his career where he has claimed 5 wickets in 3 innings at an average of 17.40. The event will provide him the opportunity to make his mark using his attacking bowling style.

Former South African cricketer Kepler Wessels expressing his views about Steyn said, “Steyn and Morkel "together are the heart of the bowling attack. They are a superb strike force."

The competition between the two heavyweight teams is expected to be tough one because India will strive hard to keep its position up in the group while the Proteas will strive to reserve their place in the quarter-finals.

 

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