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Sunil Joshi's Wonder Spell against South Africa

Indian left-arm spinner; Sunil Joshi had his best moments in limited over international cricket and bowled India to victory against South Africa.

Last updated: 26.09.2019
Sunil Joshi's wonder spell against South Africa | Sports Social Blog

26th September 1999 was a memorable day for Indian left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi. He arguably had his best moments in limited over international cricket and bowled India to victory with one of the best spells for India.

It was just after the 1999 World cup and India wanted to have a good start to recover from the poor showing in the showpiece event. They were playing in the four-nation LG cup at Nairobi and were the only non-African team in the tournament which involved South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. There were quite a few changes in the squad for India. Big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath were absent and under Ajay Jadeja’s captaincy, India had youngsters like Vijay Bharadwaj and Nikhil Chopra to show their skill.

It was India’s first match in the tournament and it was the big one against South Africa. Hansie Cronje won the toss for South Africa and decided to bat first. It looked like a good decision on a dry pitch which was expected to support spin as the match progressed. But Joshi started to take the advantage of the track from the very beginning. 

Coming as the first change bowler within first ten overs, he picked up the dangerous Herschelle Gibbs immediately. Mark Boucher was sent as a night watchman but was run out for a duck and when the debutant Boeta Dippener was dismissed by Joshi, they were tottering at 39/3 in the 16th over. Only six runs were added in next four overs before Joshi picked up Cronje. He kept bowling a tight line and got maidens after maidens. He took a break and again returned to bowling to get rid of Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock in the same over. Joshi’s final analysis was 10 overs, six maidens, six runs and five wickets. South Africa’s momentum was gone completely. Jack Kallis held one end but could only score 38 runs off 110 balls. Nikhil Chopra’s three wickets ensured that they were all out for 117 runs within 48 overs.

For India, it was an easy chase. The openers Sadgopan Ramesh and Sourav Ganguly added 72 runs before Ramesh was dismissed for 36. Ganguly was the next one to go for 38 but the debutant Vijay Bharadwaj and Rahul Dravid completed the chase in the 23rd over.

Joshi’s effort is ranked 11th among best bowling figures for Indians in ODIs.

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