AB de Villiers gave Australia’s Big Bash T20 tournament a possible glimpse of things to come after he looked very assured in his first outing for the Brisbane Heat on Tuesday.
The legendary 35-year-old stroke-maker crafted a 32-ball 40 in his franchise’s comfortable seven-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers, notably driving his first delivery – off superstar Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan – for four.
“I had a feeling the first one was going to be the Googly, and I picked right,” De Villiers said cheekily afterwards.
South Africa has some decent representation in this year’s edition, with mostly senior players not involved in the Test series against England having been drafted.
But their outputs have been rather mixed.
Here’s how they’ve fared to date.
CHRIS MORRIS (Sydney Thunder) – 30 runs at a strike rate of 130; 10 wickets at economy of 8.47 and strike rate of 15.5
The Proteas all-rounder, who was one of the national side’s best players at a disappointing World Cup last year, has been typically busy for the Thunder.
He’s been very effective as a strike and death bowler, claiming a very decent haul of 10 wickets to date and consistently leading the way in terms of enthusiasm.
Fans will be a tad disappointed that he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to bat, but Morris can certainly justify his selection this season.
DAVID MILLER (Hobart Hurricanes) – 91 runs at a strike rate of 111, highest score: 25 not out
Regarded as one of the most talented strikers in South African and world cricket, the left-hander’s decline continues unabated.
Miller is a man struggling at all levels of the game, not only lacking form with the bat, but also displaying on-field body language that suggest he’s a man on cricketing death row.
There’s still time for him to make amends though current evidence suggests a turnaround is a long way away.
DALE STEYN (Melbourne Stars) – 5 wickets at economy of 6.23 and strike rate of 15.6
There’s a reason this man is a legend.
Steyn has been outstanding for the table-toppers since a belated debut, bowling with pace, skill and guile in rapidly become a key member of the side.
Perhaps more impressive is his economy rate, which is just over a run-a-ball and considered outstanding.
It just illustrates how he continues to hold an iron grip on most opposing batsmen.