CAPE TOWN – Dale Steyn needed just one word to describe South Africa’s bowling performance in the crushing win over Australia – “relentless”.
Back in Perth for the first time since walking off the Waca with his shoulder in a sling that kept the veteran fast bowler out of the game for eight months in 2016, Steyn delivered a Man of the Match performance at the impressive new Optus Stadium in the first ODI on Sunday.
The 36-year-old turned back the clock, and built up an impressive head of steam to finish with 2/18 from seven overs.
It set the tone for youngsters Lungi Ngidi (2/26) and Andile Phehlukwayo (3/33) to follow on a surface tailor-made for the pace men. These performances rocked an inexperienced Australian batting line-up as the hosts were reduced 8/3, and then 66/6, before being shot out for 152 in just 38.1 overs.
“I think we out-bowled them,” said Steyn. ”They didn’t bowl as well as they could have. We were relentless. It was really tough to score, and when they tried to push on, they lost a wicket. I am going to put it down to our bowlers.”
Equally, Quinton de Kock agreed South Africa’s ability to start well in both innings was the difference between the two teams.
“I think the positive thing about today’s game was the positive start we got off to with the ball and the bat. I think that was the two things that stood out for us today,” said South Africa’s wicket-keeper, who top-scored with 47 off 40 balls in an opening partnership of 94 with Reeza Hendricks (44).
De Kock, though, was disappointed that he was not at the crease when the winning runs were struck because he is well aware Aaron’s Finch team have the potential to strike back in the 2nd ODI on Friday in Adelaide.
“I am a little bit disappointed that I threw my wicket away there. I could have finished off the game. We should have won minimum eight wickets left, but I threw my wicket away and I just have to get better for the next game,” De Kock told Fox Sports.
“I have played against these guys enough to know the next game can be their game. They have a serious bowling line-up at the moment. We can’t take for anything for granted. The Aussies are always good at coming back and always fighting.”