Tail-ender Dale Steyn relished a fighting half-century in South Africa’s second ODI against Zimbabwe at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
The entertaining 60 marked the first of his ODI career, surpassing a previous-best 35 struck against India in Jaipur in 2010.
The hard-hitting right-hander struck eight fours and a six during an 85-delivery stay. The six was walloped straight down the ground, off the bowling of seamer Donald Tiripano.
Steyn shared an important 75-run alliance with all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, rescuing the Proteas from 101-7 to 176-8. The hosts were eventually limited to 198 all out.
‘I was discussing my lunch and the next thing I knew I had to go out there and bat,’ he said during the innings break.
‘It was nice to get us out of a precarious situation. Andile and I always thought about 200 or 220 was possible. We just wanted to take it at four or five runs an over, and then look at 150, 180 and onward.
‘I found that the longer I batted, you could take dots. But that’s because I batted lower. The openers and the middle order batsmen need to score runs. So it kind of worked out with the bat, but it was a tough wicket to bat on.
‘My nerves have settled. Zimbabwe bowled well, in the right areas, where they took wickets.’
Wednesday marked the 35-year-old Steyn’s first ODI since October 2016.