Dale Steyn produced one of the finest spells of fast bowling in the history of Twenty20 to hand South Africa a tense two-run win over New Zealand on Monday. With just seven runs to defend the final over, Steyn produced an over of perfection to keep South Africa's hopes alive in the tournament.
No matter who you are, if you're a cricket fan, you were probably glued to your screen or some form of online scoring to keep track of what was happening. Steyn allowed the batsmen just one scoring shot off his six deliveries while three wickets fell in the 20th over.
It was the kind of over that should be written into cricket textbooks and that everyone will tell their children about. Even the Australians were amazed.
Considering South Africa's relationship with pressure at ICC events, it all looked set for yet another choke. Faf du Plessis had managed his bowlers dubiously, and Morne Morkel had been carted for 50 runs.
It was up to Steyn to do something special first up, and so he did. Going full and outside off, Luke Ronchi had a swing and got a thick edge through to Quinton de Kock, who took an acrobatic catch behind the stumps. Steyn revved up his chainsaw, and the crowd went wild.
Dale Steyn at 92mph against the new batsman. Tough to even get bat on ball! #WT20— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) March 24, 2014
Steyn cranks up the pace to 143km/h, and McCullum tries to have a wild swing. He misses. Dot ball. Seven needed off four now.
Steyn revs up the speed again and makes it near impossible to get bat on ball. South Africa have contrived to win games from positions much more dominant than this before, but their reputation is for losing games from winning positions.
Dale Steyn in #BeastMode— Kane Richardson (@krichardson47) March 24, 2014
There's another length ball from Steyn, but this time there is connection, and it's connected well-enough to make it four.
It's the sort of moment that reminds you how tall the challenge of saving the match is: With one good shot, the momentum has suddenly been taken away from you.
Three were needed off the last two balls and, at this stage, the game was very much in New Zealand's hands once again.
McCullum makes contact with the ball but is caught thanks to Faf du Plessis running in from extra cover to take a diving catch. The only perk for the Black Caps is that Taylor crosses back on to strike for the final ball.
Steyn had bowled the 18th over and clearly had a plan for Ross Taylor. Taylor likes cutting outside off and Steyn executed the plan to cramp him for room to perfection.
With three runs to defend, Steyn sends him the same delivery. It pitches just outside off stump, and Taylor can't do anything but hit it back to Steyn. The bowler collects and roars up to the stumps, dislodges them, effects the run out and seals the game. Breathtaking.
It's an anti-choke!! Sounds like a pizza topping, but what the hell. #SAwin— Rob Houwing (@RobHouwing) March 24, 2014