St Augustine Cricket Club opening batsman Ishmael Evans cherished the experience of facing South African fast bowler Dale Steyn during 27 February 2016’s Western Province Cricket Association premier league fixture at the Vineyard Oval in Cape Town.
Sidelined by groin and shoulder injuries, Steyn had not played competitive cricket since December last year, prior to Saturday’s performance for Western Province Cricket Club.
Testing his fitness and pace prior to this month’s Twenty20 International series against Australia and World Twenty20 in India, the right-arm fast bowler secured telling figures of three for two and two for 11 – during a rare appearance by an international fast bowler at club cricket level. He bowled five overs in each innings, as hosts WPCC reduced St Augustine CC to 42 all out and 48 for six.
Evans fell for an eight-ball duck in the first innings and scored a mere four off 11 in the second. Seventeen of his 19 deliveries were from Steyn, who bowled the right-hander in the first innings and removed him lbw in the second.
“We first heard at practice that we were going to play against Steyn. I thought it was just a bit of banter, but when I rocked up at the ground for the match, there he was – the man himself,” Evans told Eye Witness News.
“It was a great experience to face someone of his calibre, someone of his quality – and something that I won’t forget. Facing him, I was just trying to keep it simple, watch the ball, that’s what you try and do for every bowler.
“You just have to treat him as another bowler. I think if you try to play the man, Dale Steyn, you’ve already lost. Try to keep it simple, watch the ball, let your skills do the rest.
“I didn’t score many, but just to face him was a great experience. Not a lot of club cricket players can say they’ve faced one of the world’s greatest cricketers. He was a super chap after the day’s play. He actually apologised for getting me out. It was great to just rub shoulders with him.”
The home side are in a very commanding position, having amassed 326 for eight declared, for a hefty 236-run lead, on the back of a superb century from opener Derek Mitchell and complementary half-tons from talented duo James Crowson and Dayaan Galiem.
The 32-year-old Steyn will not play the second and final day of the fixture, as confirmed by his agent, Dave Rundle, to Club Cricket SA last week.