Zim blow golden chance

HARARE - Prosper Utseya became only the second Zimbabwe to take an ODI hat-trick but his efforts were in vain as the team suffered a 61-run defeat at the hands of South Africa here yesterday.

After the hosts had won the toss and elected to bowl first, the off spinner was very economical as he finished his allotted 10 overs with figures of 5-36.

Utseya was ably supported by fellow off spinner John Nyumbu, who also had impressive figures of 3-42 while seamer Tendai Chatara claimed the last two wickets as South Africa were dismissed for a lowly 231 inside 49.5 overs.

The hosts were unable to mount a sustained challenge in their chase and were dismissed for a paltry 170 all out in 38.3 overs with Ryan McLaren capturing 3-24 and Dale Steyn 3-36.

It was a disappointing display by Zimbabwe with the bat considering that the hosts had restricted the Proteas to a low total that looked reachable.

The Zimbabweans bowlers led by Utseya and Nyumbu had done all the hard work in the morning by keeping South Africa on the back foot.

Utseya claimed the scalp of Proteas skipper Hashim Amla, whom he had stumped by keeper Brendan Taylor for 66 runs.

The former Zimbabwe captain then sparked a remarkable collapse by the Proteas as he claimed the wickets of Quinton de Kock, Rilee Rossouw and David Miller from consecutive deliveries in the 26th over.

After the match, Utseya was happy with his performance but was disappointed that Zimbabwe had lost their third match of this tri-angular series that also includes Australia.

“I’m happy with the way I bowled but disappointed that we didn't win,” said Utseya.

“The spin department has been our strength and we knew the pitch was going to turn. The captain took me off after three overs and later I decided to come around to de Kock and changed my field placings a bit.

“I was a bit of both - defensive and attacking. The conditions helped a lot to turn the ball.”

Proteas captain Amla, who was standing in for the rested AB de Villiers, said he was happy with the way his charges recovered.

“We felt 231 was defendable; huge credit to Tahir and Phangi for the last stand. It was below par after the start we had but we had the bowlers to defend it,” Amla said.

“Things like that [collapses] happen in the game and the way we reacted to reach 231 and defend it was great.

“We believed it was defendable. Our seamers set the tone upfront and Phangi bowled very well. We hung in there long enough and got crucial wickets later on to take us home. It's bitter and sweet both.”

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