Proteas down Zim in opener

BULAWAYO - South Africa flexed their muscles in fine style with a convincing 97-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the first of three one-day internationals here yesterday.

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl on a pitch that was drier than normal, and took considerate turn from the start.

After a quiet start, both Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock took full advantage of the short and wide deliveries the Zimbabwean seamers dished up on a regular basis.

Amla was more than happy to play second fiddle to de Kock, who treated the small morning crowd with an array of delightful pull and cut shots as he raced to 50 off just 42 balls, before presenting John Nyumbu with his first ODI wicket when he picked out Brendan Taylor at point for 63, ending the opening stand of 109.

Hopes would have been high for de Kock to continue his amazing record of converting fifties into hundreds, but his record came to an end thanks to Nyumbu and Taylor which means that de Kock now has an unusual statistic of one 50 and five hundreds to his name.

Faf du Plessis kept Amla good company as the Test captain then upped the tempo as he cleverly placed the ball into gaps, running hard between the wickets, and pouncing on the bad ball when it was presented.

Amla reached his 15th ODI hundred off 120 balls, which included five fours and a six, before unleashing two more consecutive sixes of John Nyumbu.

Du Plessis departed for a solid 59 while skipper AB de Villiers (21 off 11 balls), and JP Duminy (22 off 11 balls), gave the innings the final momentum it needed to pass the 300 mark as the Proteas finished on 309-3 in their 50 overs, with Hashim Amla unbeaten on 122 off 132 balls with six fours and three sixes.

Off-spinner Nyumbu picked up 2-52 from eight overs, while Prosper Utseya claimed 1-44 from his 10 overs. None of the seamers troubled any of the South African batters at any point in the innings, with all of them conceding more than six runs per over.

Zimbabwe got off to a disastrous start, losing Sibanda, Mutumbani and Taylor with just 34 runs on the board.

Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams briefly delayed the inevitable outcome with a fourth wicket stand of exactly 100 before Masakadza cut Wayne Parnell to Faf du Plessis at backward point for a well manufactured 61 off 73 balls.

Sean Williams was the next to go when he tamely chipped Imran Tahir to Faf du Plessis at point for 51.

After William’s dismissal, wickets fell periodically and the home side were bowled out for 216 in 49-5 overs.

Zimbabwe will have to do a lot of soul searching and hard thinking, should they want to compete strongly in the remaining two ODIS which will be played on Tuesday and Thursday respectively at the same venue.

Comments (1)

Great report Dean. A bit out of the norm for you but entertaining reading and almost felt like I was there! Well done!

Clint - 18 August 2014

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