KIMBERLEY-South Africa made heavy work of a small target of 118 set by Zimbabwe, as they stumbled to a five-wicket win in the first One Day International (ODI) against their neighbours at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Sunday.
The hosts won the toss and elected to field, handing Warriors batsman Christiaan Jonker a maiden cap in the 50-over format, while Dean Elgar made a return to limited overs internationals, with Dale Steyn left out of the XI.
Zimbabwe’s innings barely got going, as the first wicket fell with just ten runs on the board, with Solomon Mire mistiming his drive and edging it to Reeza Hendricks in the slips off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi.
Craig Ervine joined Hamilton Masakadza in the middle, and the pair were rather tentative, putting together a stand of just 18 in seven overs, before Wian Mulder removed the former for just seven.
Andile Phehlukwayo joined in the party, grabbing two wickets in as many overs to leave the visitors reeling at 44/4 in the 16th over. Kagiso Rabada pulled off a similar feat of his own, removing dangerman Brendan Taylor and Peter Moor in two overs, taking Zimbabwe’s total to 62/6 after the 21st over.
However, the pick of the bowlers was Ngidi, as he picked up a further two wickets, cleaning up the tail for impressive figures of 3/19 as the minnows were bowled out for 117.
The Proteas’ chase did not get off to the ideal start as Elgar was sent packing by Tendai Chatara, who found his leading edge after adding just two to the total.
The introduction of spin also ensured another breakthrough for Zimbabwe, as Hendricks was clean-bowled by Wellington Masakadza for five in his first international in his hometown.
Opener Aiden Markram hung on piling on 27 runs as he and Heinrich Klaasen steadied things to take the score to 40 after ten overs, but he became Chatara’s second victim just before lunch.
Klaasen resumed proceedings with debutant, Jonker who did not last long as he became fellow debutant Brandon Mavuta’s first ODI wicket for just six.
This brought in captain JP Duminy, who brought up his 5 000th run in ODIs, and also took the team total to the 90s with Klaasen, who top-scored with a run-a-ball 44 before he himself was dismissed by Masakadza with the score at 96/5.
Wian Mulder joined his skipper, and the two held their nerve to take the Proteas over the line for a five-wicket victory.- thesouthafrican.com