Dale Steyn © Getty Images (File Photo)
Dale Steyn © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Shiamak Unwalla

Sep 6, 2014

Australia finished at 217 for nine against South Africa, as Dale Steyn’s four-wicket-haul derailed the innings in the final of the Zimbabwe Triangular series 2014 at Harare. Barring Aaron Finch, no Australian batsman crossed 50, while their highest partnership of 71 was for the ninth wicket.

Australia started off in good fashion with Aaron Finch and Phil Hughes looking positive. However, it all went south very quickly, as Steyn soon removed Hughes, getting the stylish left-hander to drive straight to AB de Villiers at covers. Steve Smith continued his pedestrian form, top-edging a pull shot off Wayne Parnell only to be pouched easily by David Miller.

George Bailey and Finch then led a slight recovery, putting on 33 runs. South Africa’s spinners were putting the batsmen on a tight leash, and neither batsmen was picking the variations from Imran Tahir. It wasn’t long before Bailey was cleaned up by a big googly from Tahir.

A 43-run partnership then ensued between Finch and Mitchell Marsh. But then, just when things were looking up for Australia, Steyn struck again — this time ripping the heart out of the batting. In a furious spell of deadly reverse swing, Steyn removed Finch and Glenn Maxwell off successive deliveries — Finch’s off-stump went for a walk, while Maxwell’s back leg was rapped in front of the stumps — before getting Brad Haddin out LBW as well. In between, Marsh was cleaned up by Parnell as well.

Mitchell Johnson smacked one for four off Morne Morkel — who was far from fully fit, but played nonetheless — but followed it up by holing out to Aaron Phangiso in the deep. Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner were then set the ardous task of surviving 12 overs to avoid being bowled out with overs to spare.

To their credit, the duo combined well, starting cautiously but unfurling a few big hits toward the latter part of the innings. The duo added well over 50 runs to boost a sagging run rate, as Australia just about managed to breach the 200-run barrier. Faulkner and Starc ensured that Australia had something to bowl at against a line-up that is high on confidence.

Brief scores:

Australia 217 for 9 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 54, James Faulkner 40; Dale Steyn 4 for 35, Wayne Parnell 2 for 40, Morne Morkel 2 for 58) vs South Africa.

Live scorecard

Catch all the coverage of the Zimbabwe Tri-Series 2014 here

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time)