A Dale Steyn half-century and a six-for from Imran Tahir helped the Proteas defend a 198-run total to beat Zimbabwe by 120 runs in the second ODI in Bloemfontein.
The Proteas’ batsmen could not have given their bowlers a better challenge – to barricade Zimbabwe from charging past their 198-run total.
It was a shocking batting display from the Proteas, as their inexperienced top seven were toppled for 101 runs in 25 overs. It took Steyn, on his return from a two-year absence, to score a maiden half-century to drag the Proteas to a competitive score.
Steyn (2-19) channeled the momentum into his bowling averaging at speeds around 145 km/h, using the variable bounce to his advantage to terrorise the opposition batsmen.
The Proteas speedster struck in his second over to trap Solomon Mire (two) lbw. He struck again in his fifth over, setting up Craig Ervine (15), who pulled a short delivery to Andile Phehlukwayo (1-7 ) who dove acrobatically to his right at short midwicket.
Tahir’s introduction saw him strike on his fifth delivery, trapping the dangerous Brendan Taylor lbw that sent him on his lap of honour before the umpire lifted his finger.
Lungi Ngidi (1-26) struck in the following over to dismisses the Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza (27) lbw to end his 200th ODI early.
An incredibly quick stumping from Heinrich Klaasen for Tahir’s second wicket sent Sean Williams (nine) packing as the visitors were reduced to 58-5 to end the 18th over.
Phehlukwayo got in on the action the following over, a basic outswinger tempted Elton Chigumbura (duck) to run it down to third man, but instead found a thick outside edge to gift Reeza Hendricks his fourth slip catch of the series.
What followed was outstanding. Tahir became the fourth South African to take a hat-trick by first trapping Peter Moor (five) lbw, to follow the dismissal of Williams in the previous over, and then bowling Brandon Mavuta with a beautiful googly – Zimbabwe rattled at 59-8.
Three balls later, Tahir made it five after he bowled Kyle Jarvis (one), who swung across the line and missed a teasing googly.
He wrapped up the innings to seal a comprehensive win when Tendai Chatara (three) pulled Tahir to Steyn at deep midwicket – the Proteas going 2-0 up with one ODI in Paarl still left to play on Saturday.
South Africa innings 198– Dale Steyn 60, Aiden Markram 35; Kyle Jarvis 2-26, Tendai Chatara 3-42
Zimbabwe innings 78 – Hamilton Masakadza (27); Imran Tahir 6-24
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images