Former Australia skipper, Steve Waugh reckons that the flamboyant Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya can dominate the ongoing World Cup like South Africa’s Lance Klusener did in the 1999 edition as he feels that Hardik’s clean-hitting is something that no opposing skipper can deal with.
Pandya played a dominating knock of 27-ball 48 at The Oval to help India post an imposing 352 for 5 against Australia on Sunday. India then bundled Australia out for 316 for a 36-run win.
In his column for ICC, Waugh wrote, “It’s the innings of Hardik Pandya that will send shivers down opposition spines. This guy might just be the equivalent of Lance Klusener in the 1999 World Cup. He has the ability to begin his innings like most finish, with clean hitting that no opposing captain can protect.”
The knock played by Pandya reminded Waugh of Klusener’s fireworks in the 1999 World Cup, who was got the man of the tournament award 20 years ago in England for his destructive lower-order hitting. His exploits helped the Proteas to almost win the game at the final at Lord’s, but a frantic run out on the semi-final at Edgbaston resulted in Waugh’s Australia securing a famous tie.
Australia went on to win the World Cup title by outclassing Pakistan in the final. Describing the same, Waugh wrote: “When they (India) get off to solid opening partnership, as they did against Australia, they then have the luxury of seeing Virat Kohli orchestrate the remainder of the innings. Australia will be disappointed that they missed some crucial chances in the field and their bowling was at times loose and not as disciplined as expected.”
Despite the loss, Waugh felt that the Aussies stand a clear chance to reach the semi-finals.
Describing the same, Waugh wrote, “India will walk away from this match full of confidence as most of their key players did exactly what needed to be done under extreme pressure and their game plan was executed perfectly. Australia won’t be too disappointed as they have time to dissect this loss, fine tune their process, tinker with batting orders and bowling options and maneuver things around before the semi-finals come around.”