Proteas hope to make it a magical 100 for Steyn

Dale Steyn celebrates after taking a wicket against the West Indies. *Photo: Cricket South Africa Facebook page
Dale Steyn celebrates after taking a wicket against the West Indies. *Photo: Cricket South Africa Facebook page

Steyn will become the 19th South African to play 100 ODI’s during their ICC Cricket World Cup Group B match against Ireland at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday. He will have played 98 matches for South Africa and two matches for an Africa XI.

Steyn’s ODI career has been stretched over a decade to accommodate his longevity in the longer format of the game, and Behardien believes the No.3 ranked ODI bowler will have an important role to play as the tournament progresses, despite a low-key start.

“I faced him a few times on the domestic scene, it’s not fun facing Dale Steyn when he’s at full tilt,” Behardien joked to the media on Monday.

“We all know what a wonderful performer he has been over the years. He is the number one test bowler, has performed admirably on the one-day and T20 circuit. His fire and the energy that he brings to the bowling unit is awesome.

“He started brilliantly against the West Indies and India so we will be looking to him to start the innings off well against Ireland.

“Hundred caps is a wonderful achievement, it’s something that all cricketers aspire towards. We will try and celebrate his 100th game with a win; we will fight tooth and nail for that tomorrow.”

While the spotlight remains on AB de Villiers after his heroics in Sydney, Behardien says the team’s success on the field remains a collective effort from the 15 members in the squad.

“That’s been our emphasis over the last six months,” he said of the strength of the reserves.

“We played against the West Indies at home and the fact that our bench was so strong was a big factor. Rilee Rossouw is a wonderful player; he came in and scored two hundreds in South Africa against the West Indies. Parnell was also on the bench and he came in and picked up four wickets in the last ODI.

“There is a lot of emphasis going into the squad of 15, it’s not just the 11 on the field,” he explained.

“The squad of 15 is important to our cause and going forward you never know if there will be an injury so the guys on the fringe are ready to step up when required.”

Meanwhile, Imran Tahir has leaped up to fourth place on the ICC ODI bowling rankings, a big seven-place jump following his nine wickets in the tournament.

Another player to make positive moves up the rankings is David Miller, who has jumped 14 places to 23rd on the batting rankings.

AB de Villiers (No.1 ranked batsman) and Dale Steyn (No.3 ranked bowler) remain the highest ranked players for the Proteas respectively.

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