Kaneria completes 50 wickets in 2007 English season

Thursday, July 12, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan’s star leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has joined England pace bowler Steve Harmison as the only two bowlers to have completed 50 wickets in first-class matches, in the ongoing cricket season in England. Both bowlers now have a total of an exact 50 wickets each, either having appeared in nine matches enjoying first-class status.

Harmison’s figures of 50 wickets are slightly better than Kaneria’s. For his haul in matches for Durham, England and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Harmison has conceded only 21.54 runs apiece. Kaneria’s 50, all for Essex, have been picked up at a rate of 26.52 runs each.

By 9.00pm Pakistan Standard Time on Wednesday, which meant 5.00pm British Time, Durham were placed second in the English County Championship Division One’s nine-team table just behind leaders Yorkshire. They have won and lost three each of their eight matches so far for a points tally of 94.5.

Danish Kaneria’s Essex were at number three, behind Nottinghamshire and Somerset, in the nine-team English County Championship Division Two table at 9.00pm yesterday. The first three teams will be promoted to Division One next summer, so Essex have a good enough chance to be one of those teams.

On Wednesday, the last day of Essex’s four-day County Championship match against table leaders Nottinghamshire at County Ground Chelmsford, Kaneria didn’t really have complementary bowling figures. In his 42 overs he conceded 153 runs for three wickets.

Essex had compiled a massive 700 runs in their first innings for the loss of nine wickets and then they declared. Nottinghamshire replied with an even bigger total of 791. By the time we went to the press, the match was predictably heading towards a tame draw.

In his first season as an Essex player back in 2004, Danish Kaneria had a prosperous summer as he captured 63 wickets at 25.53 in 11 first-class matches. He can certainly do better this year, in case he is not called up for national duty by Pakistan earlier than expected.

Sussex’s Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed has bagged 41 wickets in eight first-class matches this season at 29.43 each with teammate Naved-ul-Hasan, the medium-fast bowler, having taken 29 wickets in eight matches at 30.72 runs apiece.

Defending champions Sussex are currently placed number three in the Division One table. Kent are at number seven and faced with the danger of relegation to Division Two. Kent’s Pakistan medium-pacer Yasir Arafat has taken 26 wickets in seven matches at 29.88 each.

Kaneria is also one of the leading wicket-takers on England’s limited overs circuit. In eight such matches for Essex this summer, he has taken 17 wickets at just 13.17 runs apiece.

There are only two bowlers ahead of him. Australia’s pace bowler Stuart Clark, playing for Hampshire, has 21 wickets in seven matches at 11.38 while former West Indies fast bowler Ottis Gibson has taken 19 wickets in nine matches for Durham at 17.84 runs each.

Former Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan has scored 477 runs in eight matches for County Championship Division One table leaders Yorkshire at an average of 43.36. He has a highest of 202 not out among his two hundreds.

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