Virat Kohli says that ‘whenever I meet Dale Steyn he gives me the biggest hug. We’re always really friendly.’ However, the Indian superstar says that friendship will be pushed to one side in Melbourne on Sunday.
Kohli and Steyn are former teammates at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and at a press conference on Saturday, Kohli spoke fondly of the South African fast bowler. ‘I’ve shared great friendships with a lot of South African players over the years and Dale has to be one of the more special ones.
‘Off the field, he laughs all the time. It’s pretty similar with me … that’s why we get along really well together.’
However, that won’t be the case on Sunday. Kohli suggested Steyn was clearly the best bowler in the world, but that wouldn’t stop him piling on the boundaries in their World Cup meeting. ‘I’ll be looking to dominate him,’ Kohli said.
AB de Villiers was confident that wouldn’t happen. ‘He’ll be a handful in this tournament,’ the Proteas captain predicted. De Villiers delivered one of the highlights of last year’s Indian Premier League when he took Steyn for 23 runs in one over. Asked if he had showed India how to do it, the world’s best batsman could only laugh. ‘I wouldn’t say so, no,’ he said.
‘It’s a different format and completely different conditions, very small field and slow pitches in India.’ De Villiers suggested his side could call on a range of match-winners against India – be it with bat or ball. ‘The top four, I believe, is the best top four in the world at the moment,’ De Villiers said.
STEYN’S RECORD AGAINST INDIA IN ODIS
July 2007 (Belfast): Steyn 6-0-35-1 (Kohli did not play). India won by 6 wickets (D/L Method)
Feb 2010 (Jaipur): Steyn 10-1-46-0 (Kohli 31). India won by 1 run
Feb 2010 (Gwalior): Steyn 10-0-89-0 (Tendulkar 200no, Kohli DNB). India won by 153 runs
Feb 2010 (Ahmedabad): Steyn 8-1-37-3 (Kohli c Boucher b Steyn 57). SA won by 90 runs
Jan 2011 (Durban): Steyn 6-0-29-2 (Kohli c Smith b Steyn 54). SA won by 135 runs
Jan 2011 (Johannesburg): Steyn 9.2-1-35-2 (Kohli 22). India won by 1 run
Jan 2011 (Cape Town): Steyn 10-1-31-2 (Kohli 28). India won by 2 wickets
Jan 2011 (PE): Steyn 4-0-15-0 (Kohli 87no). SA won by 48 runs (D/L Method)
Jan 2011 (Centurion): Steyn 9-1-32-2 (Kohli 2). SA won by 33 runs (D/L Method)
March 2011 (Nagpur): Steyn 9.4-0-50-5 (Kohli 1). SA won by 3 wickets
Dec 2013 (Johannesburg): Steyn 8-3-25-3 (Kohli 31) SA won by 141 runs
Dec 2013 (Durban): Steyn 7-1-17-3 (Kohli 0). SA won by 134 runs.
Watch Steyn tell a room of schoolkids how to swing the ball at pace.