The battle for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award is between two very fine fast-bowlers. Dale Steyn took six for eight to help bowl Pakistan out for their lowest ever total in the first Test in Johannesburg, while Mitchell Starc took five-wicket hauls in each of the first two One-Day Internationals against the West Indies.
Starc took five for 20 in the first match at Perth as the tourists were dismissed by Australia for just 70, while, in the second game two days later, also at the WACA, he ended with five for 32 as West Indies fell away after a promising period in their run chase.
However, Steyn’s superb display of swing bowling in the first innings at the Wanderers is just enough for him to earn the award. He would go on to end with career-best match figures of 11 for 60 after taking another five wickets in Pakistan’s second innings to underline just why he is ranked by the ICC as Test cricket’s leading bowler.
Either side of lunch of the second day, Steyn unequivocally turned the match in South Africa’s favour following their mediocre batting performance with a display of fast swing bowling that is surely unrivalled in recent times.
He repeatedly swerved the ball away from the right-hander or moved it towards the pads of the left-hander. Left-hander Nasir Jamshed was trapped in front, while right-handers Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal all edged behind. He completed his remarkable haul by having last man Rahat Ali caught in the gully, backing away towards square-leg in panic.
Of the batsmen, Australia’s George Bailey leads the way with this week. He hit 125 not out - his maiden ODI century - in the second match against the West Indies to help his side recover from 98 for six to post a match-winning 266 for seven.
And finally, the Women’s World Cup kicked off this week in India, with three players hitting their maiden ODI centuries. India’s Thirush Kamini was the first to do so - her 146-ball 100 coming on the opening day as her side beat the West Indies. Later, New Zealander Sophie Devine hit 147 off 137 balls as her side comfortably beat South Africa, while Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 107 wasn’t enough for the host nation as they attempted to overhaul England’s total on Sunday in Mumbai.
Other notable feats by the women over the past seven days include Stafanie Taylor, who hit 171 off only 137 balls to help the West Indies thrash Sri Lanka. It was the third highest score in the history of women’s one-day cricket. Charlotte Edwards became the leading run-scorer in the game’s history during her match-winning 109 against India.
Of the bowlers, Rachel Candy took a career-best five for 19 as New Zealand made it two wins out of two by thrashing Pakistan, while Sian Ruck (four for 31 versus South Africa) and Katherine Brunt (four for 29 against India) starred for the White Ferns and England respectively.
© Cricket World 2013
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