Thursday, April 2, 2020

Royal Challengers: Most memorable spells of Dale Steyn

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For the first three seasons of the Indian Premier League, the 36-year-old was a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore team and after a hiatus returned back to the RCB fold after nine years.

Here are three of Dale Steyn’s most memorable bowling spells for RCB

2/29 Vs Chennai Super Kings, Bengaluru, 21 April 2019

When RCB and CSK go head-to-head, it’s always a spectacle to watch. In the 2019 edition of the IPL, RCB announced Dale Steyn as the replacement player for the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile. 

Having been put in to bat, RCB’s score of 160 seemed way short of being  defendable against a batting unit like that of the Chennai Super Kings. But, RCB had a new weapon. Dale Steyn, playing his first game of the tournament, rattled the CSK top order with pace and movement.

He set the tone for the RCB bowlers to choke CSK in the middle overs. Steyn’s spell with the new ball was too hot to handle for CSK. He wreaked havoc as he struck twice off consecutive deliveries in the first over to push the visitors on the backfoot. First, his famed outswinger lured Shane Watson into a drive, which was caught at slips. A perfect inswinging yorker to the left-handed Raina shattered the stumps to give RCB the perfect start with the ball. RCB won the game by a solitary run in the end despite last over heroics by CSK skipper Dhoni, but the foundation was laid by the Protea quickie.

3/26 Vs Mumbai Indians, Mumbai, 20 March 2010

The Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai was set to witness the showdown between Mumbai Indians (MI) and RCB. MI won the toss and decided to bat first. Sanath Jayasurya and Sachin Tendulkar opened the batting for MI. 

MI’s batting had proved to be scary, having scored 200+ in their previous two innings. Steyn got the vital wicket of Sanath Jayasurya in his first over of the match with a fast steaming outswinger.

The West Indian Kieron Pollard was a major threat at the death overs. Pollard and Rajagopal Sathish rotated the strike and intended to go all-out in the final overs. Steyn came to bowl the 18th over of the match where he handcuffed the batsmen with a set of variations, denying the hard-hitting Trinidadian who was trying to guide the innings and set up a respectable score on the board. Rajagopal Sathish, who had no choice but to attack Steyn, failed to do so as he ended up giving up his wicket. RCB restricted MI below the average first innings score. 

RCB needed 152 runs off their allocated 20 overs, which –  thanks to Jacques Kallis’s half-century with the bat – they eventually pulled off comfortably by 7 wickets.

1/15 Vs Rajasthan Royals, Jaipur, 14 April 2010

The hosts Rajasthan Royals (RR) won the toss and elected to bat first.  RR lineup was filled with power hitters and RCB approached the match from a different perspective. The RCB bowlers piled up the pressure on RR batsmen and picked up early wickets which stunned the winners of the first IPL. Dale Steyn was brilliant with his spell as he bowled 16 dot balls and claimed the all-important wicket of the flamboyant Yusuf Pathan. Steyn surprised him with a full delivery that curved softly, and Yusuf, rooted in his crease, couldn’t get bat to ball. Dale Steyn bowled the most dot balls in a match in IPL 2010, in his 4 overs. This bowling effort by the Challengers made sure that RR could not put up over 130 runs on the board.

Despite losing the wicket of Kallis in the initial overs, RCB’s Kevin Pietersen came in and settled down quickly, scoring a wonderful half-century. RCB won the match quite comfortably with 5 wickets and 4.2 overs to spare, boosting their chances of making the playoffs.

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