12 October 2014
124 Days to Go – Lance Klusener World Cup Legend
The man known as ‘Zulu’ saved his very best performances for the ICC Cricket World Cup and as well as being the Man of the Tournament in 1999, he holds a unique World Cup Record
Klusener showed glimpses of his ability in the lead-up to the World Cup, but his execution during it was brilliant.
Having made his One-Day International debut against England in January 1996, he went on to represent South Africa in 171 One Day Internationals, scoring 3576 runs at a healthy average of 41.10 and a strike rate of 89.91 – which places him among the most accomplished South African modern-day batsmen. Among his various exploits in the shorter form of the game, the standout one was his performance at the 1999 World Cup.
Klusener showed glimpses of his ability in the lead-up to the World Cup, but his execution during it was brilliant. He picked up 17 wickets at an average of 20.58, and scored 281 runs, including two half-centuries, in nine games at a whopping average of 140.50.
He almost single-handedly rescued South Africa several times in the tournament with hugely impactful performances with bat and ball, in particular, the games against Sri Lanka and England. Against Sri Lanka, an all-round performance helped him steer his team to victory, where he remained unbeaten on 52 and picked up three wickets.
He won four Man of the Match awards in the nine games he played, which were in four consecutive South African wins. Following his exploits, he was named the Player of the Tournament, and as a result, topped the ICC ODI batting rankings. He was also voted as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2000.
In the 2003 World Cup, he continued his good run. In the five games he played before South Africa crashed out, he averaged 91, scoring a 48-ball 57 in the tournament opener against the West Indies.
Collectively, in 14 World Cup games, he scored 372 runs at a remarkable batting average of 124, this is the highest batting average for any player in the history of the Cricket World Cup. He didn’t just star with the bat though, he was outstanding with the ball, particularly in 1999 and finished his World Cup career with 22 wickets at an average of 22.13. Klusener’s all-round record in World Cups might never be surpassed.
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