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India vs South Africa ICC World T20 2014 semi-final: Dale Steyn key for Proteas’ chances

Dale Steyn has been South Africa's star performer in the ICC World T20 2014 so far © Getty Images
Dale Steyn has been South Africa’s star performer in the ICC World T20 2014 so far © Getty Images

Dale Steyn is all set to enthral once again as South Africa take on India in the second semi-final of the ICC World T20 2014. The right-arm pacer, who is South Africa’s pace spearhead across all formats, is expected to play yet another crucial role in the clash that will decide who will face Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup final. Devarchit Varma has more…

When a high-flying Indian team landed on the shores of South Africa towards the end of 2013, not many had imagined the star Indian batsmen to struggle as badly as they did in the One-Day International (ODI) series. In the first match at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, after setting a huge 360-run target, the South Africans toyed with the Indians and pummelled them by a huge margin of 141 runs.

What was noticeable in that humiliating loss was not only a big blow for the Indians, but the way it was dished out to them was even worse. Rohit Sharma, who had a stunning series against the West Indies and Australia, failed to put his bat on the ball for the first 15 occasions — all of those sent by Dale Steyn. Such was the menace and fear of the right-hand pacer that the Indians could not find any way how to tackle him, and Steyn bagged six wickets in two games of the three-match ODI series.

As the Indians face the South Africans in the semi-final match of the ICC World T20 2014 at Dhaka on Friday night, the humiliation would still be lingering in their minds ahead of the clash. Rohit is once again in good form and his batting partner, Shikhar Dhawan, too is also one good inning away to roar back into form. But, while it is being anticipated that the main battle will be between the Indian spinners and the South African batsmen, there’s another interesting encounter on the cards between Steyn’s 24 balls and the way the Indians would face those.

Steyn will draw a lot of confidence from his exploits against India in the series in late 2013, and it is up to the Indians to prove if they have found out any way to tackle him. It must also be kept in the mind that Steyn has an extensive experience in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which will indeed help him to draw plans against the Indians. And also to be mentioned is the frailties that some of the Indian batsmen have against the short ball — a factor which certainly tempt Steyn to test the Indians even more.

Steyn had already made his intentions clear that he could be one of the key players for South Africa in this tournament. He snatched an unlikely win from the jaws of New Zealand in the group match and it showed that Steyn is ready to fire the South Africans to a win this time round.

The 30-year-old paceman has splendid records across all formats. Steyn has played 37 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and has taken 55 wickets. His average in the shortest format is 15.32 and Steyn’s economy is of an impressive 6.33. Talking about the ongoing tournament — expectedly dominated by spin bowlers — Steyn is in red-hot form with nine scalps in only four matches. The South Africans will hope their pace spearhead remains in good form and lead them to the summit clash.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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