The Proteas bowling unit delivered an improved performance to win the second ODI by 61 runs and seal the series 2-0.
The opening combination of Kyle Abbott and Wayne Parnell started well by creating an early chance. However, AB de Villiers uncharacteristically dropped a simple catch at slip, gifting Richmond Mutumbami a life while on three.
Mutumbami didn’t make the most of his fortune as he was trapped in front for 12 in Aaron Phangiso’s first over. Parnell then got rid of Hamilton Masakadza at the other end to leave Zimbabwe struggling at 21-2 after 8 overs.
The introduction of Ryan McLaren produced another wicket, reducing Zimbabwe to 26-3 after 11.5 overs, as Sikandar Raza left a straight one and lost his off stump. It went from bad to worse as JP Duminy got rid of Brendan Taylor. Zimbabwe had collapsed to 45-4 in the 17th over and with the departure of their big fish, the writing was already on the wall.
Sean Williams showed some fight, bringing up his half-century off 77 balls. Aided by the tail he gave the score some respectability, but there was never any realistic hope of him taking the hosts home.
Williams fell for 55, trying to take advantage of the fielding restrictions and clear the inner ring. McLaren made the breakthrough, as he so often does during the Powerplay overs, to effectively end Zimbabwe’s challenge.
Some lusty blows at the death pushed Zimbabwe’s score up to 196 before Imran Tahir ended their innings in the final over. South Africa won by 61 runs and take an unassailable 2-0 in the three-match series. They won’t be satisfied with either of their performances, though, and will be eager for both the batting and bowling units to fire in the third ODI.
South Africa’s Innings
Earlier, South Africa lost too many wickets during the innings to accelerate at the death and subsequently posted a below par 257 all out.
Brian Vitori and Prosper Utseya shared the new ball on a slow, barren looking wicket. Early indications suggested a long day in the field for the hosts as the batsmen started like a house on fire. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock looked ominously comfortable reaching 30-0 after 5 overs.
The seamers were getting taken apart, so Zimbabwe rang the changes in an attempt to find an effective combination. In a desperate move John Nyumbu came on as early as the eighth over. Amla had a rush of blood and tried to sweep the off-spinner over the top, but missed and was bowled for 15. South Africa were 47-1 when Faf du Plessis joined De Kock in the middle.
Nyumbu struck again in the 12th over as De Kock made some room and tried to go over the off side. He made good contact, but didn’t get the elevation and was well caught at short cover. He went for a very fluent 38, in the process becoming the joint fastest batsman to 1,000 ODI runs.
The visitors lost another wicket to leave them in a spot of bother at 60-3, as De Villiers went in bizarre fashion. He took off for a run while the ball was resting at the wicket-keeper’s feet, who subsequently picked it up and ran out the Proteas skipper for just one.
After Zimbabwe found the right recipe and took the pace off the ball, on a wicket that was stopping and turning for the spinners, it was far more difficult for the batsmen to score. Duminy and Du Plessis turned the strike over and formed a good partnership, until the loss of the former for 36. He tried to sweep Utseya really fine and played it onto his leg stump.
David Miller strode to the crease with South Africa 129-4 after 26.3 overs. The situation provided the Dolphins batsman with an opportunity to spend some time at the wicket and make a serious contribution. At the other end Du Plessis brought up his second half-century of the series, but then fell for a 72-ball 55 after chipping an Utseya delivery straight to midwicket. His departure left the Proteas on 169-5 in the 36th over.
Vitori was brought back into the attack and got rid of Miller for a 45 off just 48 deliveries. The batsman was a little unfortunate as the umpire adjudged him lbw after the ball hit him on the full, but he was down the wicket and it looked to be sliding down the leg side.
South Africa were in danger of being bowled out, as McLaren gifted an easy catch to cover and was on his way for just four. At 211-7, Parnell and Abbott had eight overs to negotiate without much batting left in the shed.
The two all-rounders did a good job, taking the total past 250 before Parnell was caught on the boundary for 24 with nine deliveries left in the innings. Abbott was caught in the deep for 23 in the final over as South Africa were dismissed for 257.
Report compiled by Gareth Stevens.