Allan Donald

South Africa were playing their first international game in almost 22 years and it was the first ODI in their cricket history. It was a path-breaking and an emotional tour for the Proteas and in front of a 90,000 strong crowd at the Eden Gardens, Mohammad Azharuddin won the toss and asked the Clive Rice-led South Africans to bat first.

South Africa got off to a slow and poor start as their opener Andrew Hudson was dismissed for a duck by Kapil Dev. Wickets kept on falling at regular intervals and at 49 for 3, Kepler Wessels and Adrian Kuiper took charge of the situation with a 60-run partnership. Despite the brief stability, the innings failed to get going and South Africa finished with 177 for 8 off their 47 overs.

It seemed like it would be an easy chase for the Indians but a certain South African pacer on debut had different ideas. In only the fifth delivery of his ODI career, Donald accounted for Ravi Shastri for a duck. A few overs later, Donald took out Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar to leave India reeling at 20 for 3. The likes of Richard Snell and Brian McMillan though failed to provide adequate support from the other end and runs started flowing off the bats of Sachin Tendulkar and Pravin Amre. It was Donald again who provided the breakthrough and accounted for Tendulkar to leave India at 116 for 5. Pravin Amre, Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar, though, saw India home with three wickets and almost six overs to spare. Donald finished with 5-29 off his 8.4 overs and it was bewildering to see him not bowl out his 10 overs in a match where he was the only threatening South African bowler.

Allan Donald recorded a Bowling Impact of 6.97.

It is the highest impact bowling performance by any bowler in an India-South Africa ODI encounter in India till date. All five of Donald’s wickets were of top/middle order batsmen and he conceded runs at a rate much lower than the match norm. Donald had a Partnership-Breaking Impact when he took the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and he also had a Pressure-Building Impact (taking wickets in quick succession to build pressure) when he took the wickets of Shastri, Manjrekar and Sidhu to leave India precariously poised at 20 for 3. Interestingly, even after a performance of this magnitude, Donald was not the highest impact player of the match. Tendulkar with his display of 62 off 73 with the bat and 1-27 off 5 overs with the ball actually emerged as a higher impact player even though the Man of the Match award was given to both of them.

If first appearances were anything to go by, it was clear that Donald was the one for the future for South Africa.

He didn’t disappoint on the promise he showed as he eventually finished as the highest impact bowler for South Africa in ODIs at the time of his retirement.



Soham Sarkhel
Art- Gokul Chakravarthy

 NOTE: Impact Index has undergone an upgradation in November 2015, and though 95% of its findings remain the same, there have been some minor shifts. This piece was updated post that, and is up-to-date as of August 2016.