Dale Steyn is arguably the best fast bowler South Africa has ever produced. The seamer has the ability to give nightmares to the opposition batsmen with his intimidating run-up, lethal bouncers and yorkers. The 38-year-old has donned the South African jersey in 93 Test matches and 125 One Day Internationals. The seamer has a whopping 439 Test wickets and 196 ODI scalps under his belt. As the Phalaborwa-born is celebrating his 38th birthday, let’s flip the pages and take a look at Steyn’s best bowling spells in the international circuit.
6/8 v Pakistan, Johannesburg, 2013
Dale Steyn’s best bowling spell of his Test career came in 2013 against Pakistan at Johannesburg. While Pakistan was following the score of 253 posted by South Africa, Steyn caused carnage on the field. The pacer destroyed Pakistan’s batting line-up by giving just eight runs and picking six wickets. Pakistan collapsed at 49 in their first batting innings. Though the visitors performed well in the last innings of the game, it wasn’t enough as South Africa won the match by 211 runs.
5/87, 5/67, 76 v Australia, Melbourne, 2008
Arguably the best all-round performance in the history of Test cricket was delivered by South Africa’s pace merchant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia in December 2010. The first innings of the iconic match saw Steyn sending five Australian batters back to the pavilion while conceding just 87 runs. In the second innings, the veteran contributed with the willow as he scored 76 runs to help South Africa take a lead by 65 runs. It was followed by another blistering performance as in the third innings, Steyn again picked five wickets while giving 67 runs. The right-hander’s contribution both with bat and ball ensured that South Africa registered a victory by nine wickets.
7/51 v India, Nagpur, 2010
South Africa achieved the difficult task of defeating India in a Test match in February 2020, courtesy of Steyn. Opting to bat first, South Africa declared their innings at a mammoth score of 558 runs. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis were the wrecker-in-chief for the visitors as they added 253 and 173 runs, respectively, to the scoreboard. Batting in the second innings, India crumbled like a pack of cards as Steyn managed to pick seven wickets. The speedster bowled a total of 16.4 overs and gave away just 51 runs. His exploits ensured that India were given a follow-on. In India’s second innings too, Steyn picked three wickets. Thus, the hosts lost the match by an innings and six runs.
4/34 vs Australia, Harare, 2014
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia were involved in a triangular ODI series in 2014. The final of the event saw a spectacular performance from Steyn. The right-hander gave an early lead to South Africa by picking four wickets including the likes of Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, and Brad Haddin. Steyn’s exploits by ball ensured that Australia posted a below-par total of 217 on the board. Chasing 218 was an easy task for the South African batters as Faf du Plessis played a sublime knock of 96 runs.
6/39 vs Pakistan, Port Elizabeth, 2013
The legendary pace merchant Steyn registered the best figures of his One Day career in a match against Pakistan at Port Elizabeth on November 27, 2013. Playing the second ODI of the three-match series, Pakistan were blown away by Steyn’s storm. The speedster ran through the Men in Green batting order as he picked as many as six wickets while giving just 39 runs in his nine overs. Though Steyn caused carnage on the field, Ahmed Shehzad showcased his character as he slammed a century to drive Pakistan to a score of 262. It was a close game as despite producing good batting performance, SA lost the match by one run.