Veteran South Africa pacer Dale Steyn on Wednesday became the country’s leading wicket-taker in the shortest format during the first Twenty-20 International against England at the Buffalo Park in Eastern Cape.
The previous record was held by Imran Tahir, whose tally of 61 wickets was surpassed by Steyn. He got the wicket of Jos Buttler to take his numbers to 62 wickets in 45 T20I matches so far. Third in this elite list is former fast-bowler Morne Morkel.
Overall, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in T20I cricket with 106 scalps under his name. He is followed by Shahid Afridi (96), Shakib al Hasan (92) and Umar Gul (85).
The 36-year-old Steyn, who was playing his first international match after almost a year, has the most number of Test wickets among South African cricketers. He has taken 439 wickets off the red ball, while there are 196 ODI scalps to his name as well.
On Wednesday South Africa held their nerves against England in the first T20I of the three-match series to register a one-run victory. Chasing 178, England were cruising in the first half of their innings before experiencing a middle-order collapse.
After Buttler was removed by Steyn, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow added more than 70 runs for the second wicket. Bairstow walked towards the pavilion in the ninth over with the scoreboard reading 91 for England. Skipper Eoin Morgan looked in fine touch as he mixed nicely with Roy to keep England’s scoring rate well in check.
However, with Bairstow getting out for 70 in his 38th ball and England being reduced to 132/3, the visitors lost two quickfire wickets for just 20 runs. The Proteas bowlers showed composure in the dead overs and defended 28 runs in the last three overs.
Lungi Ngidi bowled a brilliant last over as gave away only six runs and took a wicket of Tom Curran to restrict England at 176. He returned with the figures of 3/30 and was the pick of the bowlers for the Proteas. Andile Phehlukwayo and Beuran Hendricks took two wickets each, while Steyn contributed with one scalp.