Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

Dale Steyn vs Rohit Sharma — the battle that sealed India’s fate upfront

Dale Steyn finished with figures of three for 25 from eight overs © Getty Images
Dale Steyn finished with figures of three for 25 from eight overs © Getty Images

Dale Steyn’s early spell to Rohit Sharma set up the game for South Africa as they walloped India by 141 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Johannesburg. Rohit, one of the most successful ODI batsmen of 2013, was made to look miserable  and it was all due to Steyn’s mastery. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at the interesting but wicket-less spell for Steyn and describes it importance in context of the game.

 

Dale Steyn is a class act  a complete fast-bowler who combines all the lethal elements — seam, swing, pace and bounce. There is nothing a batsman can do when he is at the top of his mark and in his zone to deliver those thunderbolts. When in form, his run-up is reminiscent of a lion on the prowl for its prey, for the batsmen can only hope for survival. In the first One-Day International (ODI) at Johannesburg, the Indian batsmen were hopelessly prodding and hopping at a barrage of jaffas. Not only were they swinging prodigiously, but also kicked off a length. That he didn’t any wicket at the top was surprising, but it was his initial spell that helped South Africa push for the huge victory.

 

Let us revisit his first spell, which had the in-form Rohit Sharma in all sorts of trouble. Rohit has been one of the best one-day batsmen this year and has consistently scored with conviction. There has been authority and assurance in his strokeplay throughout the year and he has looked in control of things during most of his innings. However, Steyn made him look like a man woefully out of form. Rohit couldn’t get bat to the ball for the first 15 deliveries as he was puzzled by a display of complete fast-bowling. Rooted to the crease, he was squared up a few times and tentatively wafted his bat at deliveries that shaped away from him.

 

—————————–——

 

“Watch Free Live Streaming of India vs South Africa Series 2013”

 

—————————–——

 

In many ways, it was similar to the spell Steyn bowled to Rohit during an Indian Premier League (IPL) game in 2012. Mumbai Indians were chasing a very low total then and Steyn castled Richard Levi with a scorching yorker. And, when Rohit walked in, he was made to play at peaches. In fact, in hindsight, one felt Rohit had done well not to edge any. The wicket was a bit lively at the Wankhede Stadium that day, but for Steyn it doesn’t matter. Even on the flattest surfaces, he can produce a spell of brilliance.

 

That begs the question: Was it just brilliant bowling at Johannesburg or were the Indian batsmen inept for those conditions? When South Africa batted, it looked a belter of a wicket. Quinton de Kock and company had no trouble in playing through the line of the ball, although the Indian bowling wasn’t any good, one felt that the pitch was made for batsmen. However, it looked a different surface once Steyn bowled the first over.

—————————–——

 

“Watch Free Live Streaming of India vs South Africa Series 2013”

 

—————————–——

 

Most of the deliveries pitched in the corridor of uncertainty and went past Rohit with decent pace. Some of them bounced and Rohit shouldered arms to those. By pitching in that very corridor, Steyn had Rohit in two minds, whether to play or leave. There was no room to guide it through the off-side, nor could one work it towards the leg. All he could do was attempt those ‘defensive pokes’. There were a few he left and others he flirted with. The slip cordon sighed! It was almost as if two replays were played in succession — one after the other for about 16 times.

 

This very battle continued into Steyn’s third over as Rohit kept fighting all the factors. The ball got perilously close to the bat on more than an occasion, beating it by a whisker. It took Rohit 16 balls to connect one and after setting him up with those away going deliveries, he bowled one that came into him. Now, Rohit expected that same barrage a little outside the off-stump, so when this odd delivery came about, he could only edge it towards the covers to open his account. On a normal day, he would have flicked it through the leg-side with disdain.

 

Chasing 359, that spell had a great psychological impact on the confident Indian batting. In recent times, this line-up showed its bravado by chasing two 350-plus scores. But, this was a different ball game. During both those run-chases, the openers did take a bit of time, but to play out maidens early on was a huge setback. As a result, the batsmen had to take the attack to the other end, which is why the other bowlers had more success early on.

 

Although the battle against Rohit was the major talking point, there was one delivery to Virat Kohli that stood out. Kohli too has been in great touch and has scored runs in almost every country. You give him half a chance and he would capitalise on it big time. As he saw one delivery heading towards the stumps, his eyes lit up and thought, “Here’s my chance to flick it through mid-wicket.” It pitched on a full length and Kohli backed himself, but it then left him and squared him up. When it all finished, it looked as if he was trying to flick a delivery that pitched around off through the leg-side. Kohli could only smile!

 

Such exhibitions are rare in the modern game though. With those big bats, fielding restrictions etc. the batsmen have become adventurous and back themselves in any situation. The whole passage of play made a fascinating advertisement for one-day cricket. Off late, there has been a lot of debate about the new rules and the game being more batsmen friendly. But, if you run into a red-hot Steyn, he can smother that bravado in a matter of minutes. The most confident batsman on the planet would be made to look ordinary!

 

India have perhaps been given a precursor of things to come. They’d need a lot more that skill and application to overcome the Steyn challenge. What would it be? That is something the batsmen would ponder.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

 

South Africa vs India — Live on Ten Cricket

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014  at Sharjah

Scores delayed by 15 mins Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts

T20 WC 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Sri Lanka won by 6 wkts

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 4, 2014  at Dhaka

England Women won by 9 wkts

Photos

Delhi vs Bangalore match 2, IPL 2014 at Sharjah

Videos

Video Highlights: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders wickets

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Delhi Daredevils by 8 wickets

IPL Statistics and Records: IPL’s First

IPL 2014: Umpire Camera View creates latest buzz in tournament

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

Australia BCCI Delhi Daredevils England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Royal Challengers Bangalore Sachin Tendulkar Virat Kohli

Ben Stokes: Must keep anger in control

Jonathan Trott suffers another bout of stress; takes break from game

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians IPL 2014, Match 5 Preview: Clash of the glamour sides

Yuvraj Singh’s criticism was ‘unfair’, feels Royals Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli

Prem Kumar Dhumal denies extending land allocation favour to HPCA

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Kings XI Punjab’s local talent gives them an added dimension in IPL 2014

Former Australia PM Robert Menzies used cricket to win a case as a lawyer

Naoomal Jaoomal: The man who opened batting in India’s first ever Test

Sony launches ‘IPL Smart Earphone’ to filter crap commentary; calls endeavour CSR

Fan of the Day

Sudatta Mukherjee

Sudatta Mukherjee

1 Posts | 0 Fans

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014 Video Highlights

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR), Live Cricket Score, IPL 2014: Match 4 at Abu Dhabi

Ben Stokes: Must keep anger in control

Motorola Moto X Review: When experience trumps specifications

Sony Xperia Z2 Compact alleged photos leaked

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marque passes away

Also on cricketcountry.com