Dale Steyn scored 60 as South Africa beat Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

DURBAN - Dale Steyn starred with bat and ball as South Africa strolled to a 120-run victory in the second ODI against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

The Phalaborwa Express started his heroics in unusual fashion, as he was the batting calm after another top-order capitulation. 

Steyn struck a priceless 60, to lift South Africa from the doldrums of 101 for seven, before they were eventually bowled out for 198.

Steyn had come into the side to replace Kagiso Rabada, the spearhead of the pace pack, who was rested with a big summer ahead. 

Wiaan Mulder suffered a niggle, and he was replaced by Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo.

All looked serene as stand-in skipper JP Duminy won the toss and elected to bat on a strip that looked a little friendlier than that other strip from Kimberley on Sunday. 

And yet the Proteas were soon 9 for two, as Dean Elgar and Reeza Hendricks both fell cheaply. 

Aiden Markram (35), Zondo (21) and Christiaan Jonker (25) all made starts, but none of them kicked on to something substantial.

Zimbabwe kept on striking, and South Africa kept on slipping, and the hosts were suddenly 101 for seven. 

The calm heads came from the excitable Andile Phehlukwayo and the veteran Steyn, both employed primarily for their bowling.

Phehlukwayo, who has admitted to being short of runs in national colours, scored a most responsible 28 from 44 balls, batting within himself. At the other end, Steyn was his usual mix of gung-ho and guts, playing the role of senior pro expertly.

Phehlukwayo fell just when he ought to have started having fun, but the 75 they had added for the eighth wicket was immense. 

Steyn went on to make 60 off 85 balls, worth infinitely more in the circumstances.

With ball in hand, Steyn then showed just how sporting the Mangaung Oval wicket was. If there were any doubts about his abilities and hunger, he put them to bed with a slick opening burst, striking the chests and helmets of the startled visitors.

It was vintage Steyn, and he also had a hand from a sprawling Phehlukwayo, who held onto a sharp chance from Ervine. 

Steyn, full of swing and plenty of zip, helped himself to two for 19 in six engaging overs, before the other veteran in the attack, Imran Tahir, ran amok.

The wrist-spinner scythed through the visitors, turning Zim into Grim-babwe, with six for 24 in a hurry. 

Tahir helped himself to South Africa's fourth ODI hat-trick in history, as he unleashed his full bag of tricks under the Mangaung stars.

It was another decisive victory for South Africa, and sealed the three-match series. 

But, deep down, they will still be concerned that their batsmen are yet to fire against a limited, if spirited attack. 

Had it not been for Steyn's star turn with bat, ball and everything else he touched, the night may have turned into a bit of a mare.


IOL Sport

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