SACricketmag.com’s KHALID MOHIDIN rates the Proteas’ performances in the third ODI against Zimbabwe at Boland Park.
The Proteas completed an expected 3-0 whitewash against Zimbabwe. All three victories were comfortable with the Proteas’ bowlers putting in incredible performances to help them over the line.
It was the batting department where the Proteas had struggled the most throughout the series. With tricky pitches delivered for both Kimberley and Bloemfontein that saw uneven bounce (with both matches failing to stretch through the full 50 overs of any innings), Boland Park’s groundsmen were under pressure to prepare a good cricketing wicket.
Both sides found it easier to bat on the Paarl strip and the match tended to give equal opportunities for both batters and bowlers. With three half-centuries, a couple of forties and a spread of wickets amongst both teams’ bowlers, the contest was a far more fulfilling one.
Aiden Markram 7.5
Markram batted at an even tempo and looked comfortable at the crease. The 23-year-old played a vital role in the Proteas’ solid start and looked set to reach his second ODI half-century. Having stroked his way to 42 off 40 balls (including seven fours) he was unfairly given out leg-before when TV replays showing a thick inside edge onto his pads. Nonetheless, he showed his ability to kick-start a Proteas innings.
Reeza Hendricks 8
The Proteas survived a slight scare after losing Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy in quick succession, but a solid performance from Hendricks saw him record his first ODI half-century to go with his debut century, which he scored batting in the number three spot. It was refreshing to see the 29-year-old moved into his natural opening position, and Hendricks looked comfortable for his 66 until he lost his wicket when he was fooled by a full delivery that angled into the pads. He attempted a flick and was wrapped on the pad as the ball avoided the inside edge and trapped him in front of middle and leg. This put the Proteas in a slight spot of bother at 154-4.
Faf du Plessis 5
The Proteas skipper returned to the ODI setup after a brief injury layoff. Playing in the position he feels the most comfortable, Du Plessis looked like he could support the inform Hendricks on the other end and see out a victory. He paced his way to a steady 26, but as he looked to turn up the pace, he timed a powerful pull shot towards a leaping Craig Ervine at midwicket. His wicket came at a crucial time, forcing Hendricks to rebuild momentum with a new partner.
JP Duminy 3
Duminy had a quiet game. He bowled four overs – conceding just 14 runs – and scored a single run off 11 balls shortly after Du Plessis had lost his wicket. Prior to the series, Duminy spoke about wanting to be given an opportunity to bat in the top order after stringing together some commanding performances in the lower order. He got his opportunity in the final ODI – and on a good pitch – but he just couldn’t get going before he ound a thick outside edge that drew out an acrobatic effort from Brandon Mavuta at deep extra cover. This put the Proteas three down with 122 on the board.
Heinrich Klaasen 9
The Man of the Match, Klaasen, had a great game with the bat and behind the stumps. He scored his maiden half-century and managed to steer the Proteas to the brink of victory, before losing his wicket unnecessarily. For the second time in the series, Klaasen went out to his favourite pull-shot, on this occasion with the Proteas just seven runs away from victory, Klaasen scored a brilliantly measured 67-ball 59.
His time behind the stumps saw him take three catches and one admirable stumping to secure the key wicket of Brendan Taylor for 40. This wicket was a representation of his speed and alertness behind the stumps, components that ooze into his batting confidence.
Khaya Zondo 5
Zondo did his job and stuck around till the end, his cameo 25 helping Klaasen take control after losing Hendricks at a critical stage of the innings. Although he stuck around till the end, it would have been pleasing to see him let loose a little more and play a more attacking game, but his performance was appropriate given the circumstances.
Andile Phehlukwayo 5
This rating might seem a bit harsh given his solid effort with the ball, but due to his selection as an all-rounder, both aspects of his game have to be judged. Phehlukwayo took two wickets, one to remove Elton Chigumbura and one to remove Mavuta, but both relied more on poor shot selection rather than brilliant bowling. Phehlukwayo finished with 2-34 and an economy rate of 5.66, giving away just five fours off his bowling. His batting performance, however, was amateur, as he struggled to connect any of his strokes cleanly and worked in a few wild swings before losing his wicket for an 11-ball duck with the Proteas needing just two runs for the win.
Dale Steyn 8
Steyn looked hungry as ever. The speedster put in a solid shift once again in the coloured clothing, reaching speeds clocked at around 145 km/h as the Zimbabwe batsmen struggled to face his raw pace. He was the Proteas’ best bowler on the day, finishing with 3-29, and his dismissal of Ervine summed up his class. The Zimbabwe batsman had struggled to deal with Steyn’s raw pace, and when the Phalaborwa Express banged in a cross-seamed, short-of-a-length delivery that nipped away from the batsman and squared him up, Ervine was forced to edge behind to the keeper to reduce the visitors to 21-2. Steyn also hit the winning runs with a four to seal a whitewash for the hosts.
Kagiso Rabada 8
The Proteas’ premier speedster put in his usual top-class performance, taking 3-32 off his 10 overs. He bowled with aggression, pace and a level of variation that made it tough for the opposition to read his bowling. In recent times Rabada has evidently been working the yorker into his arsenal, and he showed this once again during Zimbabwe’s innings, however, it was his wicket of Sean Williams that proved his class once again. Rabada banged in a length delivery on middle-stump to the in-form half-centurion, who tried to hit him down the leg side. Instead, was beaten by pace, Williams found an edge and popped a soft catch straight back to Rabada.
Imran Tahir 7
Somewhat surprisingly, Tahir was tested as an opening bowler in this match due to the Du Plessis having the luxury of a second spinner in the side in the form of Tabraiz Shamsi. Tahir bowled admirably to return figures of 4-1-11-1 in his first spell, which included taking out Solomon Mire’s off-stump. Tahir was named Man of the Series as his 2-44 at Paarl took his series tally to 10 wickets at a cost of just 91 runs in the three-match series.
Tabraiz Shamsi 3
Shamsi was the Proteas’ most expensive bowler in the match. He struggled with consistency throughout his overs and the Zimbabwe batsmen took advantage of this. He went for nine fours and a six to end with figures of 0-72 in his 10 overs.
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