Dale Willem Steyn (born 27 June 1983 in Phalaborwa) is a South African cricketer who plays in Test and One Day International cricket for South Africa. Steyn plays domestic cricket in South Africa for Nashua Titans. He is a right-arm fast bowler. Steyn holds the record for the fastest South African to reach 100 wickets in Test Match cricket, a feat he achieved on 2 March 2008 . Steyn currently has the second best bowling strike rate of all time in Test match cricket (amongst bowlers who have bowled a significant number of deliveries), behind George Lohmann . He achieved a tally of 78 wickets at the world class average of 16.24 in Season 2007/08 and was subsequently rewarded with the prestigious ICC 2008 Test Cricketer of the Year Award. He also plays foor the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Steyn is an aggressive out-and-out fast bowler capable of bowling at speeds in excess of 145 km/h. He is capable of generating considerable swing and usually chosen to bowl with the new ball to maximise these attributes . Steyn is an extremely competitive cricketer and often celebrates vigorously after taking a wicket. He has stated that “(he) love(s) the buzz from bowling fast” and that “(he) want(s) to be the quickest in the world”.
Although he has the ability to hit the ball hard, Steyn is usually considered a tail-ender when batting and often bats at number ten or eleven.
Home Tests against England 2004/05:
Steyn made his debut for South Africa on 17 December 2004 in the first Test of England’s tour. His first victim in Test cricket was Marcus Trescothick whom he bowled with a fast in-swinging delivery. However, his overall performance was underwhelming, he took eight wickets at an average of 52.00, and he was dropped after bowling poorly in England’s second innings of the fourth Test in January 2005, bowling eight no balls in nine overs which went for 47 runs. England won the match by 77 runs.
One Day Internationals 2005/06:
Later that year, Steyn was picked in the squad for the African XI in the Afro-Asia Cup of 2005/06, and he made his One Day International debut on 17 August 2005. The African XI won the match, with Steyn bowling last batsman Ashish Nehra to seal victory by two runs. Steyn made his One Day International debut for South Africa on 20 January 2006 in a match against Australia at Melbourne, a match which was part of the 2005-06 VB Series. Steyn did not bowl particularly well and after another below par performance against Sri Lanka he dropped out of consideration for the South African ODI team.
Home Tests against New Zealand 2005/2006:
Following a strong season playing domestic cricket for the Titans, Steyn was recalled to the Test side to play New Zealand in April 2006. He responded to his opportunity with his first five-wicket haul in the first Test at Centurion, ripping through the New Zealand batting lineup along with Makhaya Ntini as New Zealand crumbled to 120 all out, chasing 248 to win . He finished the three Test series with 16 wickets at 26.00 and made a fine impression throughout.
Away Tests against Sri Lanka 2006:
Steyn was included in the Test team to play Sri Lanka away in a two match series in July and August 2006. In his first overseas Test, at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo, he took 3 for 129 as Sri Lanka piled up 756-5, with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena putting together the highest Test match partnership ever (624 runs). South Africa slumped to defeat by an innings and 153 runs . In the second Test, at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, Steyn took his second five-wicket haul in Tests during Sri Lanka’s first innings, but went wicketless in their seconds innings as Sri Lanka sealed a 2-0 series victory by a single wicket. Steyn finished the series with eight wickets at an average of 36.50.
Home Tests against India 2006/07:
Steyn retained his Test place for the three match home series against India. He picked up an injury whilst bowling early in India’s first innings in the first Test at Johannesburg which prevented him from taking much further part in the game and also ruled him out of the second Test. He returned to play in the deciding third Test at Cape Town and bowled well, taking six wickets for 88 runs in the match as South Africa clinched the match and the series. He finished the series with six wickets at an average of 19.00.
Home Tests against Pakistan 2006/07:
Despite his strong performance on his return to the team in the third Test against India, Steyn missed out on a place in the first two Tests against Pakistan, with the selectors opting to play a four man attack featuring full-time spinner Paul Harris. He returned in the third Test, at Cape Town, when the selectors decided to rest Andre Nel and Shaun Pollock in preparation for the immanent 2007 Cricket World Cup. He took four wickets in the match for 87 runs as South Africa won the match by 5 wickets and took the series 2-1. As this was his only match, his average for the series was 21.75.
One Day Internationals 2007:
Steyn was recalled to the South African ODI squad in June 2007 and played in three matches between June and August, against Ireland, India and Zimbabwe. He had mixed success in these three matches, taking wickets but proving expensive.
Away Tests against Pakistan 2007/2008:
Steyn was picked for the Test squad to tour Pakistan in October, and played in both Tests. In the first Test at Karachi, during Pakistan’s second innings, he picked up his third Test five-wicket haul as Pakistan were bowled out for 263 chasing 424 to win. He had an unremarkable second Test, with the match petering out to a draw, handing South Africa the series 1-0, and finished the series with nine wickets at 24.66.
Home Tests, ODIs and T20 against New Zealand 2007/2008:
Steyn was by now an established member of the Test team, and he produced his finest series performance to date in the two Test matches against New Zealand in November. In the first Test at Johannesburg he collected his fourth and fifth five-wicket hauls (5/35 and 5/59) and his first ten-wicket match as New Zealand were thrashed by 358 runs, South Africa’s biggest victory margin in terms of runs to date. Steyn was also awarded his first Test Man-of-the-Match award. This devastating form continued into the second Test at Centurion where he picked up 4/42 in the first innings and his sixth five-wicket haul (6/49) to help South Africa to victory by an innings and 59 runs. His second ten-wicket match earnt him his second Man-of-the-Match award in a row and his series performance of 20 wickets at an average of 9.20 won him his first Man-of-the-Series award. On the back of his performance, he broke into the top five of the ICC rankings for Test bowlers for the first time in his career.
He made his Twenty20 International debut on 23 November 2007 in the one-off game against New Zealand, taking the wicket of Scott Styris and only giving up 17 runs from his four overs. He also featured in the third One Day International at Cape Town, where he had partial success, taking the wickets of the New Zealand openers, Brendon McCullum and Lou Vincent, but going for 50 runs from nine overs.
Home Tests, ODIs and T20 against West Indies 2007/2008:
Steyn’s next international appearance was in the first Twenty20 International against the West Indies. He took the exceptional figures of 4/9 in three overs, with all four wickets being picture perfect yorkers, but was unable to stop the West Indies chasing down the target of 59 runs.
Steyn’s form continued into the Test series. He had a fairly indifferent match in the first Test at Port Elizabeth, taking 5/188 in the match as the West Indies scored their first away victory in Test matches for two and a half years, although he did hit his highest Test match score to date, 33 not out, in South Africa’s second innings. He picked up figures of 4/60 and 4/44 in the second Test at Cape Town as South Africa leveled the series and once again proved his worth in the deciding third Test at Durban by taking 1/18 and 6/72, his seventh five-wicket haul, as the West Indies were thrashed by an innings and 100 runs. His 20 wickets at 19.10 earnt him his second consecutive Man-of-the-Series award.
He played in the first three matches of the One Day International series, but couldn’t match his Test success and was briefly dropped after failing to take a wicket and going for 62 runs in his ten overs during the third match at Port Elizabeth. He was recalled for the fifth match at Johannesburg but struggled again, taking one wicket but going for 78 runs from ten overs.
Away Tests and ODIs against Bangladesh 2007/08:
In the first Test of the two match series against Bangladesh, at Dhaka, Steyn helped South Africa avoid an embarrassing defeat. Bangladesh were bowled out for 192 in their first innings, with Steyn claiming 3/27, but then South Africa collapsed to 170 all out, handing the hosts a shock 22 run lead. However Steyn (4/48) then combined with Jacques Kallis (5/30) to restrict Bangladesh to 182 all out and South Africa were able to complete a five wicket victory on the fourth day of the match. South Africa won the second Test at Chittagong comprehensively (by an innings and 205 runs) and Steyn returned figures of 4/66 and 3/35 giving him 14 wickets in the series at an average of 12.57, which won him his third consecutive Man-of-the-Series award. When Steyn dismissed Junaid Siddique in Bangladesh’s first innings (his 20th match), he claimed the record for the fastest South African to reach 100 wickets in Tests, beating Hugh Tayfield’s record of 21 matches. He holds the record amongst all players who are currently playing Test cricket. Steyn featured in the final One Day International of the three match series, going wicketless but only giving away 19 runs in 8 overs.
Away Tests against India 2007/08:
Coming into the three Test series against India predictions about how Steyn would fare were mixed, with some commentators identifying him a crucial part of a South African team which could pose a serious challenge to India, whilst others predicted he might struggle playing against a strong batting lineup on lifeless subcontinent pitches.
The first Test at Chennai turned out to be a very high scoring affair, with South Africa batting first and making 540, then India responding strongly, led by Virender Sehwag who scored 319 from 304 balls, to reach 468/1 by the end of the third day. On the fourth day Steyn helped to restrict India’s lead to 87 runs by dismissing MS Dhoni with a bouncer then blasting through the lower order, taking three wickets in two overs for the cost of two runs, all bowled with reverse swinging deliveries. He finished the innings, and the match which petered out into a tame draw, with four wickets for 103 runs. On the morning of the second Test at Ahmedabad, South Africa demolished the much vaunted Indian batting line within twenty overs, for the meagre total of 76 runs. Steyn was the pick of the bowlers taking five wickets for 23 runs, dismissing Sehwag and Rahul Dravid then mopping up the last three batsmen for the cost of 11 runs. In the second innings he added a further three wickets to his match tally, finishing the game with eight wickets for 114 runs, as South Africa completed a crushing victory by an innings and 90 runs. The final Test at Kanpur saw Steyn pick up three first innings wickets which took him to 15 wickets in the series at 20.20. As a result of this, the cumulation of an outstanding 2007/08 season in which he took 75 wickets in 11 matches, Steyn moved up to joint first place (alongside Muttiah Muralitharan) in the ICC Test match bowling rankings.
Away Tests against Australia 2008/2009:
In the 2nd test match in a 3 match series, Steyn was involved in a record 10th wicket partnership of 180 with J.P. Duminy. Steyn recorded a score of 76 (191 deliveries) in an innings that helped South Africa recover from 6-141 to post a score of 459. Steyn also starred in the first innings with figures of 5-87 (29.0 overs).
Links to more information on Dale Steyn:
Dale Steyn Official Website
Dale Steyn: Statistics, Milestones, Articles, News, Pictures
Dale Steyn wins 2008 ICC Test Player of the Year
Dale Steyn on Facebook.com
Dale Steyn profile on Cricinfo.com
*Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.org and owners of pictures and videos used.