• Proteas must keep focus

    We preview the second ODI between South Africa and Zimbabwe, taking place in Bulawayo on Tuesday 19 August at 9:30am.

    The second clash of the three-match series presents South Africa with the opportunity to take an unassailable 2-0 lead. It’s vital that the visitors keep up their level of performance as consistency in the 50-over format has been lacking over the past few years and is something they will need to be successful in the 2015 World Cup.

    It was pleasing to see a dominant performance in the first encounter, a victory that followed the template of the ideal match. The top order played themselves in, took responsibility and posted an imposing total. The bowling unit then hunted as a pack, led by the spinners on a receptive wicket, and dismissed Zimbabwe in the final over to record a 93-run victory.

    This is a chance for the Proteas to show that they are capable of maintaining their focus by not releasing their foot from Zimbabwe’s throat. If the visitors achieve the level of performance they have produced of late, they should win the second ODI comfortably. This will open up the possibility of handing debuts to players such as Rilee Rossouw and Mthokozisi Shezi, who have performed for the SA A side, in the third and final ODI.

    Zimbabwe’s best chance of causing an upset will be to post a competitive total and then put the pressure on South Africa with a disciplined bowling and fielding display. Brendan Taylor is the man who has the ability to lead the hosts to such a score. He’s done it before, by scoring an unbeaten 145 against the Proteas, and he’ll have to do it again to give Zimbabwe a fighting chance.

    South Africa’s batting looks to have sufficient depth to be untroubled by Zimbabwe’s bowlers, but with some front line seamers missing, it’s the attack that should be targeted by Zimbabwe. The pitch in Bulawayo has offered a lot of encouragement to the spinners and the responsibility of striking therefore falls to Imran Tahir. The leg-spinner has been a brilliant performer of late in this format and he’ll be keen to add to his three-wicket haul from the first ODI.

    South Africa will win comfortably and seal the series, but if Zimbabwe bat first and post a decent score then it could be less one-sided than the first ODI.

    Zimbabwe – Elton Chigumbura (c), Sikandar Raza, Luke Jongwe, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

    South Africa – AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi.

    Preview compiled by Gareth Stevens.

    Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix

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