Phalaborwa Express ready to steam in

SA's Dale Steyn during a training session at Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium nets ahead of the T20 clash against England
SA's Dale Steyn during a training session at Buffalo Park Cricket Stadium nets ahead of the T20 clash against England

SA and England are set to light up East London on Wednesday as they kick off their three-match T20 International series with the first game at Buffalo Park (6pm).

Thrills and spills are expected to be the order of the night as the two international heavyweights go toe to toe in what should be a thrilling spectacle in the most exciting format of the game.

Border cricket fans are in for a treat as they will be able to witness, possibly for the last time live, Proteas legend Dale Steyn, aka the  Phalaborwa Express, steaming  in from either the Buffalo Park Drive or Bunkers Hill ends.

The 36-year-old is in the twilight of his illustrious career and will hope to make a splash in his first game for SA since March last year.

“It’s a great set-up, I played a lot of cricket with Mark [Boucher] throughout my career and obviously played for the Titans with him as coach,” Steyn said.

“So it’s nice to be back with him around, as well as Jacques [Kallis] and Graeme [Smith] running the show, it’s just great to walk into the dressing room with familiar faces that I played a lot of cricket with.”

The Proteas head into the series off the back of drawing the ODIs and losing the Test series, so will be aiming to string some good performances together, especially looking towards the T20 World Cup later in the year.

“In this series I think we have to play smart, the senior guys will need to step up,” Steyn said.

“Quinny [Quinton de Kock] has been phenomenal throughout the Test series and ODIs and I think he will lead this team again with bat and captaincy.

“David Miller, we saw in the last ODI what he is capable of, and then the young guys, just the unknown, they need to hit hard, they need to capitalise and use that to their advantage.

“England won’t know a lot of the guys and know what they are capable of and will be wary to that extent.

“So that’s what it is going to take and also a bit of smart cricket and luck at the end of the day, too.”

Buffalo Park is  home to coach Boucher and players such as Warriors captain Jon-Jon Smuts and Lions batsman Rassie van der Dussen have played a lot of cricket there, so SA should know exactly what to expect from the ground.

“We have a lot of guys who have played cricket here — Jon-Jon has played a lot here — so I am sure he will have a chat and we are busy working out our plans now, so we will be ready,” Steyn said.

“From what I have experienced I think we will probably get a slowish deck, not the biggest scores around but you never know, teams are allowed to play well and we are looking forward to a good crowd.

“The wicket can vary and change and we are playing against a good team.

“But generally when two good teams at the highest international level play against each other the scores tend to be a little lower than higher, so I think it will be a good game but not one of those Bullring 200 v 200 kind of chases.”

Steyn may look to stick around for another season or two, with two T20 World Cups happening back to back in 2020 and 2021.

“This one [World Cup] would be a nice one to finish on and then sort of go and reassess at the end of this year and then sort of figure out what I want to do,” he said.

“I am really excited to be coming to the end of my career, there is a lot of exciting things just over the horizon for me after cricket,” Steyn said.

“But I love playing cricket and I can’t see myself doing anything else right now. — Daily Dispatch





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