Mehluli Sibanda in Bloemfontein, South Africa
SOUTH African fast bowler, Dale Steyn has slammed the Mangaung Oval track, describing it as not kind of wicket they would like to play international cricket on.
Steyn, who was the unlikely hero for the Proteas with the bat in their 120-run victory over Zimbabwe in the second One Day International on Wednesday evening said the wicket at Mangaung Oval was below. The veteran, playing his first ODI in two years struck his maiden half century in this format of the game, top scoring for South Africa with 60 off and then went on to put up a fiery spell of fast bowling which paved the way for blowing away Zimbabwe.
Last Sunday, the pitch at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly turned out to be unpredictable and Steyn said he was hoping the track at Boland Park would be much better.
“I think the wicket obviously wasn’t the best, if I must be honest with you, I’ve been around I’ve seen quite a lot of different pitches to play on. It’s not the kind of wickets we really want to be playing cricket on, I thought Kimberly was pretty poor and thought we would just get better coming to Bloem , I am hoping that Paarl is going to be the best one,’’ Steyn said.
Steyn’s blistering bowling spell might have earned him just two wickets but he paved way for spinner Imran Tahir to pick up six wickets, including a hat-trick as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 78 runs, their lowest ever ODI score against South Africa, less than a week after they were bundled out for 117 which was until Wednesday their worst total in ODIs against their neigbhours. Tahir’s hat-trick, spread over two overs where he nailed Sean Williams, Peter Moor and Brandon Mavuta with three consecutive deliveries.
Zimbabwean pace bowler Kyle Jarvis, who took two wickets for 26 runs in 10 overs made it clear that they could not make excuses based on the pitch considering that they lost six wickets to Tahir’s leg spin.
“Regardless of the pitch which I thought was almost borderline dangerous, we lost six wickets to spin so I guess we can’t really use that as an excuse, we really thought we were in with a good opportunity to win a game, unfortunately we didn’t and we let it slip,’’ Jarvis said.
The Zimbabwean batsmen were once again found wanting, with skipper Hamilton Masakadza top scoring with 27 in his 200th ODI. Just to show how pathetic Zimbabwe’s batting was, the next recognisable score was the 12 not out by tail ender Donald Tiripano.
With the series now won by South Africa, Zimbabwe will certainly look to play for nothing but their pride when the two teams clash in the last match of the three-match contest in Paarl on Saturday.
The two teams are now in the Western Cape and are expected to hold their training sessions today ahead of tomorrow’s clash in Paarl, which is yet another day/night encounter.