Awesome Steyn downs Eagles
Dale Steyn might have a bad game one of these days, but don't count on it. Having eviscerated the New Zealanders by taking 20 wickets in two Tests, Steyn's next trick was to grab 14 scalps for the Titans against the Eagles at Bloemfontein. Granted, the pitch must have made the bowlers think the summer solstice celebrations had come early when 20 wickets fell on the first day. But Steyn's haul of 14 for 110 - the sixth-best analysis in a senior South African domestic first-class match - remains a remarkable achievement and one that will have added a furrow to the brows of the approaching West Indians. The Titans were dismissed for 118 in their first innings, but Steyn's career-best return of eight for 41 snuffed out the Eagles for a measly 89. Conditions eased on day two, and the Titans' second innings endured into the third day before they were dismissed with a lead of 385. Re-enter Steyn to take six for 69, including the first hat-trick of his career, as the Titans surged to victory by 231 runs.
Play was significantly more stoic at Paarl, where the Cobras and the Warriors circled each other like tranquilised sharks before settling for the draw. Johan Botha, who scored 91 not out and 69, and Robin Peterson, who made 55 and 48, twice steered the Warriors out of trouble. In the first innings the visitors were 187 for six before Botha and Peterson put on 103, and they had dwindled to 180 for six when the same pair added 62. Doughty efforts though those were, they also helped dull the contest. Andrew Puttick's 104, JP Duminy's 71 and half-centuries by Ashwell Prince and Vernon Philander, who also took seven wickets in the match, bolstered the Cobras' first innings.
Rain allowed just 29 overs on the first day at Durban, where the Lions were put in to bat by the Dolphins and reached 77 for three. Not a ball was bowled for the next two days while the rain lashed down, rendering Kingsmead sodden and the match irrelevant. The sun came out on Sunday and the Lions declared at lunch on 210 for nine. The Dolphins' hearts weren't in their reply, and they were dismissed for 147. Scorecard watchers might be interested to know that Doug Watson batted at No. 11 because of a stiff neck.
Player of the week - Dale Steyn
We try to shine the spotlight on lesser known players, but in this case that would be as silly as John Cleese trying not to be funny. So, take a bow Dale Steyn. It's good to know that he doesn't reserve his nastiness for foreigners. Then again, everyone's a foreigner if you're born to Zimbabwean parents in the mining dust of Phalaborwa.
Telford Vice is a writer with the MWP media agency in South Africa