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Before we start this discussion, here are some brilliant knocks played by Lance Klusener whenever SA found themselves in trouble:
Sa v Eng SA: 143/6 (34), Klusener 55*(49) takes team total to 226/9
Sa v WI SA: 130/7 (39), Klusener 54*(36) takes team total to 221/8
Sa v NZ SA: 162/7(37), Target 192 in 40, Klusener 35*(19) and wins on last ball with 6
Sa v SL SA: 115/7 (32), Klusener 52*(45) takes team total to 199/9
Sa v ZIm: SA 106/7 (29), Target 234 Klusener 52*(58) takes team to 185
Sa v Pak: SA 135/6, Target 221, Klusener 46*(41) wins against mighty Pak bowling in 49 overs
Sa v Aus: SA 175/6(45), Target 214, Klusener 31*(16), Match tied due to Donald run out
Sa v Zim: SA 112/6(24), Klusener 65*(84), Takes team total to 222
Sa v Ind: SA 205/6(33), Klusener 75*(58), Takes team to 320
Sa v Aus: SA 122/6(32), Target 206, Klusener 52*(50) SA wins in 48 overs
Sa v NZ: SA 100/4(25), Target 153(32), Klusener41*(18), SA won in 31 overs
Sa v NZ: SA 189/7(41), Target 258, Klusener 59*(42), SA won on last ball, 69 run partnership with no 9 batsman
Sa v Aus: SA 93/7, Target 224, Klusener 83(77), Took SA to 204 and almost pulled of an impossible win
Sa v Aus: SA 81/6, Target 227, Klusener 59(59), Took SA to 181
Sa v SL, SA 152/6(33) Klusener 60*(57), Takes SA to 253
Sa v WI, SA 160/6(33), Target 279(49), Klusener 57 (48), Takes SA to 275/9 and misses out by just 3 runs
Klusener finished matches from impossible situations just like Bevan, he brought South Africa back in matches when they seemed to be done and dusted, but, yet, he doesn’t get same amount of respect as a finisher as Bevan does.
The biggest reason for the same is Bevan has finished more matches successfully than Klusener. But what doesn’t get noticed is that Bevan was a part of the team that had the likes of Waugh and Symonds to support him, who were capable of finishing matches on their own, even if Bevan failed, while Lance Klusener’s best supports used to be Boucher (who averaged only 22 till 2001 and improved later as a batsman) and Pollock.
Klusener has batted 49 out of his 137 inns at 8 or lower & 68 inns at 7 or lower, which is almost half of his career, while Bevan batted only 19 out of 196 inns at 7 or lower, and only 1 inns at 8.
While batting at 7 or lower, Micheal Bevan batted 19 inns in which his numbers were as follows:
Inns- 19, Runs- 342, Avg- 42.75, Sr- 82.40, 50-1
Batting at 7 or lower, Klusener managed the following:
Inns- 68, Runs- 1852, Avg-51.44, Sr-90.47, 50-12
The above numbers clearly suggest that Klusener was better at batting with tails, but could not finish some matches where he was let down by his partners or a top-order collapse. Moreover, Klusener’s ODI SR was 89.91 compared to Bevan’s 74.16, which indicates that Klusener had the ability to attack from ball 1 which Bevan did not have. Bevan has finished many matches with the tail and proved his greatness, but in most of the matches, the required run rate was under control. Klusener, however, was able to finish matches even when the required run rate was high and he had to bat with tail.
This article is only to present a view that why Klusener is better than Bevan with some stats and logic. It is not intended to insult Bevan who is also an all-time great finisher.