Former Australia captain Steve Waugh foresees Hardik Pandya dominating the ongoing World Cup the way South African Lance Klusener did in the 1999 edition as he feels the Indian all-rounder's clean-hitting is something that no opposing skipper can deal with.Pandya stroked his way to a 27-ball 48 at The Oval to help India post an imposing 352 for 5 against Australia on Sunday. India then bowled Australia out for 316 for a 36-run win."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," Waugh wrote in his column for the ICC's official website.The damaging stroke play by Pandya, who hit four fours and three sixes, reminded Waugh of Klusener's fireworks in the 1999 World Cup.
Klusener was player of the tournament 20 years ago in England for his destructive lower-order hitting that netted 281 runs at a strike rate of 122.17, a phenomenal tally in the pre-T20 days of 1999.The left-hander's exploits powered South Africa to within one run of making 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.
"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," Waugh wrote.
Praising veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni who hit a 14-ball 27, Waugh said: "The cunning and sheer brilliance of MS Dhoni rarely fails to deliver and again he timed his assault on Australia to post a 350 plus target.
"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."