South Africa v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group B, Cardiff

Steyn likely to be fit for final game

Firdose Moonda in Cardiff

June 12, 2013

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Dale Steyn warms up for a practice session, Cardiff, June 12, 2013
Dale Steyn had a successful net session in Cardiff © ICC
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South Africa's hopes of reaching the Champions Trophy semi-finals received a boost with the news that pace spearhead Dale Steyn is likely to be fit for their virtual quarter-final against West Indies on June 14. Given their poor record in knockout matches, South Africa will look to the experience of their best bowler to help them win.

Today, Steyn bowled at full pace for the first time since straining his side in last Monday's warm-up match against Pakistan at The Oval. He missed South Africa's first two matches of the tournament while undergoing rest and rehabilitation, which has so far gone according to plan.

"Dale is progressing quite well. He came through his net session today without any discomfort," Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager, who is also a doctor, said. "We will watch him overnight to see if he wakes up with any stiffness. If he comes through tomorrow's practice then he should be available."

If Steyn is fit, South Africa will have something of a selection dilemma. Their three seamers - Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Chris Morris and Ryan McLaren - performed admirably against Pakistan. If the team management's hand was forced, Morris would probably be culled purely because of his inexperience.

Morris understands that, and promised that if he was benched, South Africa, could be assured of having a "bloody good 12th man," in him, similar to what Steyn was against Pakistan. Not only did he carry on refreshments for his team-mates, he also regularly relayed instructions.

"He was loving it. There was a stage where he threw a bit of abuse at one of the batsmen. That's Dale's character," Morris revealed. "He was brilliant. He kept reminding us, 'There's a run-out coming'. He kept encouraging us. He's a ball of energy."

Steyn's involvement is the embodiment of what South Africa have called their team culture since Kirsten took over two years ago. It centres on inclusiveness and knowledge sharing, and with South Africa at a crunch stage of a major tournament, Steyn could provide plenty of the latter.

"Gary has placed a lot of emphasis on the reserve guys playing a massive part. Having Dale run out there with ideas and options is massively important. He has played with and against a lot of these guys for a number of years so the information and the guidance he offers is invaluable," Russell Domingo, Kirsten's successor and the current assistant coach, said. "The guys feed off Dale. He is a mentor, a great leader of the bowling unit, and he is just a good bloke, so guys enjoy getting advice from him."

For that reason, should Steyn be declared fit, it is far more likely that South Africa will play all four seamers and leave out one of their specialist spinners, as they did in the first match against India in Cardiff. Left-arm spinners Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso played alongside JP Duminy in Birmingham on a pitch that took turn, but South Africa are not expecting similar conditions at Sophia Gardens, despite the role spinners have played in the competition thus far.

"Everyone expected the ball to swing a bit more than it has. Maybe because of the cold conditions, the ball hasn't done as much as we thought," Domingo said. "I know they are saying this is quite a dry June, so that's showing in the wickets. The spinners are in the game big time.

"It's been a while since South Africa played three spinners so I'd say it has been a bit surprising that the ball hasn't done more in the first 20 overs. But this wicket lends itself to a little bit more pace and bounce than Birmingham, and with the overhead conditions around, the ball might do something. The wicket might be a little bit sportier."

With South Africa hopeful their seamers will come into the game more, they will have to decide which spinner to leave out. Despite Phangiso bowling his full quota of 10 overs against Pakistan, as opposed to Robin Peterson's four, it appears Phangiso will carry drinks. "Robbie is a big wicket-taker, a big-game player, and has contributed in every aspect: batting, bowling, fielding," Domingo said, while also confirming Peterson is not carrying any niggles, and had not bowled his quota for tactical reasons only.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

I thought Phangiso outbowled Peterson in the last game; I was pleasantly surprised! And the last I checked Phangiso is an all-rounder, and in fact started out as a middle-order batsmen before turning to spin. That said I still think Phangiso is the one who has to go for Steyn...

Posted by FredElliot on (June 13, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

I think rain will be the winner in this game. A washout means SA go through.

Posted by NixNixon on (June 13, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

I must say, McLaren looks like a fantastic allrounder. I have watched him play a lot in the domestic scene and always felt that the he has the ability to become a great allrounder. While he has shown what he can do with the bat, I believe we have not yet seen his true capability with the bat and also with the ball. McLaren should play in the team even if Kallis is playing, that is if he plays odi cricket again. Also I wonder if he has a chance of taking the number 7 spot in the test team that would further increase the power of the SA test team

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

ZCF_Outkast what you are saying that you would play Phangiso above Steyn. One problem. Left handers like left arm orthodox bowlers. It's part of their swing. You saying we must play one batsman less in a ODI is just wrong. It does not make sense. And your last closing phrase sounds as if you are only supporting 2 players. Support the team. I'll also play the allrounders before phangiso. We still have 2 spinners and even faf can turn his arm around. The attack just looks stronger with morris, steyn, McLaren, and tsotsobe in it with Petersen and duminy the two spinners.

Posted by duncanmoo on (June 13, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

Many commenters have picked this up; Tsotsobe is the highest ranked ODI bowler for SA, and with that last game he showed something if why that is. Phangiso is an exciting prospect and was given a full run of 10 overs which made his results look worse (I think he was over-bowled).

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

In my opinion, Phangiso shud be dropped. He was an excellent player in one of the tournaments recently played but hasnt shown the same since. Ingram is due some runs but i think Alviro would be sooo much better in these conditions. Alviro is also a much better fielder. Faf hasnt found his timing and is overdue runs which leads me to wonder why Elgar wasnt part of the sqaud but whats done is done. Depending on the pitch I also think de Kock shud at some point be given an oppertunity. He is an Xfactor player and can keep wicket. Morris, albeit is inexperienced, can play but i hope he is guided well the management, Lonwabo and Dale as he is sometimes erractic. ODI cricket for me shud be packed with all rounders. Mediocre Mclaren seems to be growing as a player, finally, so well done to him!

WI knocked SA out of a world cup and they have Gayle, Pollard, Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Roach, Narine who are big match players so they can't be underestimated.

Posted by Seether1 on (June 13, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

@ZCF_Outkast: I could not agree more. People seem to rate Steyn on his test match bowling record, which is awesome. However in ODIs, SA's two best bowlers are Morkel and Tsotsobe and then Steyn. They both have an average of around 23, while Steyn's is just under 30. Stats don't lie.

Posted by Starboomber on (June 13, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

Phangiso should be left out, if we need another slow bowler we can replace Ingram with Alvirio...

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

Tsotsobe iz no doubt a wicket taker baller.but the fact which i dislyk iz that his only mean taking wicket is catch.He never can ball wicket to wicket,fuller or yourker length which iz much needed wen game iz close near to victory or while death over...

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

strange!!! last match between pak vs sa SA it was quite spin pitch,U hv ever seen what hafiz and Azmal done in this pitch.Now turn of phangiso. He gave 50 run Bowled 10 over in a low scoring match and luckily got a wicket of wahab Riaz for Bad shot Selection .He has no variations, no turn.I think dumini even better off spin than Robbie p and Phangiso.Due to still cold weather in England pitch iz quite dry.so spinner getting more help rather than pacer from pitch.just add genuine leg spinner imran tahir instead of phangiso n see.Its phangiso not morris shud be ruled out

Posted by KunzMan on (June 13, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

@mjosman: I think that is what they are doing by leaving out one spinner. Read the article. Morris should play. @koushik2412: mate why not declare a winner as well so we can save the time of watching the final as well!

Posted by gibbs.175 on (June 13, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

HI SA fans ..Don't count past loses ...yes it is very important game....Dale will call in for Phangiso ( Phangiso is agood player) but as batting and spin bowling concern Phagiso has to be left out........ but Dnt depend much on Dale ....play as a unit as played last ...good luck

Posted by koushik2412 on (June 13, 2013, 4:04 GMT)

semi-finals: SA vs ENG;IND vs NZ/SL

Finals: IND vs ENG

Posted by deep6321 on (June 13, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

@THE_MIZ . I am not a african or Windies fan,But i think including behardien in the team will be a mistake. SA has already a strong middle order including faf,duminy,ABD Miller . I dont see a place for Behardien . I think SA should open with Amla & A.Petersen. team should be:- Amla ,petersen,Ingram,ABD,Duminy,faf,Miller,Maclaren,Petersen,Steyn,Morris.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

Well i believe both sides are evenly matched in more ways than one.This strategy that Sarwan would have made runs because he was successful in the county circuit isn't working out for them and Ramdin is no real loss for the team,Charles has kept wicket reasonably well and Sammy has stepped up.The WI top order must fire on all cylinders.Narine must change his game plan.Keep Tsotsobe,Steyn adds some fire but he has no form,its going to be a batsmen wicket and whoever wins will reach the semis and ultimately the finals.I give WI the edge,Rally round the West Indies.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

Those talking about team ethics have convenient amnesia, as I could have sworn that the late Cronje was South African, and he was by no means an archangel.

Windies track record in fairness IS SECOND TO NONE, and anyone is welcomed to research it. No other player has suffered more at the hands of bad umpiring decision than Brian Lara. Yet, at no time did he ever stand his ground in protest, but walked back to the pavilion, even though he knew he was not out.

The Pakistan captain Misbah should be the last one to cast aspertions against the Windies, as his country's track record is far fro flattering.

Posted by   on (June 13, 2013, 2:34 GMT)

Before anyone writes of the west indies they should look at our record against south africa in tournaments. We normally get the better of them.

Posted by Partyman on (June 13, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

Despite all the hype, WIndies are at best a mediocre outfit. SA are miles ahead in professionalism, talent and more importantly purpose and team ethics. SA should comfortably win on Friday. WIndies on the other hand, instead of working on the above traits just talk themselves up and believe their own hype. Come on SA!!!

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

All who are saying drop tsotsobe, just check his records and then talk, he have better odi record than anyone in current saf team including steyn and better than most other current bowlers.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (June 12, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

ZCF_Outkast: I can see what you're hinting at as usual, so let's talk about merit. Was Phangiso one of our best bowlers in the last game?

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (June 12, 2013, 19:26 GMT)

All you hear is drop Tsotsobe, drop Phangiso etc, etc! Never mind how well they've done. Why am I not surprised!

Hafeez gifts Morris a 2nd wicket and all of a sudden SA's best limited overs bowler for a long time now - Tsotsobe amounts to nothing, while Steyn a bowler with inferior records over the same period gets the nod!

True RobbieP batted well in a match we were on course to lose comfortably, but in 7+ expensive overs he remains wicketless, and the last victory was achieved inspite of his contribution.

If RobbieP's batting is so special, and Morris is too good to be dropped ahead of Tsotsobe, while Steyn has to be accomodated at all costs, then why not sacrifice one of Miller/Ingram/Duminy/Faf? They've no done anything.

Steyn, Tsotsobe, Phangiso & Morris will be the frontline bowlers that they are, and Robbie&McLaren can share the 5th bowler's load as allrounders. Amla, AB and any 3 from those under-performing chokers will do.

LAY OFF OUR TWO BOYS! It's bad enough as it is!

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

Why they are talking about leaving out morris? Its phangiso who must be left out. Opening the bowling with steyn and peterson wont be a bad move, gayle often gets out early to spin bowling but this plan may backfire too.

Posted by THE_MIZ on (June 12, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

My team would be, 1) Amla 2) faf, 3) De villiers 4) Duminy 5) Behardien 6) Miller 7) McClaren 8) Robbie P, 9) Morris 10) Steyn 11) Tsostobe ...Behardien comes in to strengthen that middle order and his medium pacers will do fine in these surprisingly slow conditions. Plus he's a top fielder. Also we have two aggressive (and experienced) openers to take advantage upfront much like India have done. Ingram looking a bit out of his depth. As much as I love the team, I don't see us winning the Champions Trophy (perhaps not even this match considering its now a 'quarter-final'). Proteas have -with better teams - disappointed too many times in crunch games...I hope they prove me wrong

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

I want to see pangiso out.Cause its will be a big mistake if Moris out of the team.day after day south Africa committing those kind of mistake.Hope this time they wont do that and will get out from the word Choker.

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (June 12, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

If a pacer has to be dropped, makes sense to drop Tsotsobe than Morris. The latter being an alrounder.

Posted by AKS286 on (June 12, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Finally good news is come it just take 2 matches. Steyn is the captain of African deadly Barrage (Steyn, Morkel, Phil, Tsotsobe, De Lange, Abott). Now in semi- final many fortress will destroyed by Deadly Barrage.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

Gayle force vs Steyn remover - looking 4ward 2 a great contest.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

y r u dropping Morris He is a superb bowler as u might hav seen against pakistan..drop Tsotsobe or Phangiso..Phngiso must be dropped surely..he is not a gud spinner...plz S.A Don drop morris...

Posted by Rohitash12345 on (June 12, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Beware windies...it's going to be a tough match for them as dale is a tough nut to crack....

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (June 12, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

Great news, he will be certainly needed against the likes of Gayle and Pollard. Hard luck to Phangiso, did okay coming in a match that SA had to win at all costs.

Posted by mjosman on (June 12, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

its a shame really that phangiso will miss out all three spinners really bowled well together. I wish they introduce a horses for courses approach.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

Morris will take gayle's wicket as he moves the ball away from the left handers. Caught by the keeper or the two slips.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

so it will be gayle vs steyn ..!!

Posted by wanatawu on (June 12, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

Wellcome back champ, they need you to keep Gayle in check

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

This is great news. Looks like Phangiso will miss out!

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