By Mehluli Sibanda
A HALF century on debut by Hendrik van der Dussen combined with a five wicket haul by leg spinner Imran Tahir saw South Africa floor Zimbabwe by 34 runs in an entertaining first Twenty20 International at Buffalo Park in East London last night.
Van der Dussen, playingin his fist ever T20I for the Proteas struck 56 off 44, struck five fours and a six, was involved in an 87-run partnership for the fourth wicket with David Miller to see the Proteas, who won the toss , chose to bat pull through from 52/3 to post 160-6 in 20 overs. Miller was second best with 39, followed by skipper Faf du Plessis on 34.
Man of the match, Tahir then claimed five wickets for 23 runs in four overs, his second five wicket haul in T20Is and his best figures in this format of the game with Zimbabwe wiped out for 126 in 17.2 overs. The Chevrons wobbled to 11/3, with the bad start seeing them not being able to keep up with the required run rate.
Peter Moor played some delicious strokes on his way to top scoring for Zimbabwe with 44 off 21, an innings made up of one four and an incredible five sixes. Moor struck four consecutive sixes off left arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi’s fourth over.
He was involved in Zimbabwe’s best partnership for the innings of 53 with Brandon Mavuta who made an equally enjoyable 28 at number nine.
Earlier on, Zimbabwe had a great start with the ball, Kyle Jarvis nailing debutant Gihahn Cloete for two runs, the left hander caught at slip by Hamilton Masakadza. In the very next Christopher Mpofu got the dangerous Quinton de Cock, the explosive batsman looking to clear the mid on wicket boundary but only succeeded in getting the ball into the hands of Chamunorwa Chibhabha.
Leg spinner Mavuta struck the moment he was brought into the attack, getting the wicket of Faf du Plessis, the South African skipper going for big shot to be taken at deep by Tendai Chisoro.
Van der Dussen and Miller stood firm for the Proteas in a fourth wicket partnership which was broken by Jarvis who had Miller taken at long on by Sean Williams. Mpofu got the big wicket of the night, Van der Dussen holing out to be caught by Masakadza. Jarvis soon had his third wicket, Christiaan Jonker brilliant caught by Masakadza.
In Zimbabwe’s run chase, Chibhabha chopped one from Imran Tahir onto his own stumps to be bowled for three. Masakadza tried to guide one down the leg side to be given out left before wicket to Tahir.
Tarisai Musakanda failed to bring his Africa Cup T20 brilliant form into the international scene, Tahir nailing him for a duck when the right hander got one popping up in the air from his glove, De Cock diving forward to take the catch to put Tahir on a hat trick. Williams survived the hat trick ball, slamming the delivery for four.
Just when Zimbabwe looked to rebuild their innings, Taylor was removed by Junior Dala, brilliantly taken behind by De Cock. Williams became Tahir’s fourth wicket for the night, dancing down the track to be bowled.
Tahir soon has his fifth, Elton Chigumbura trapped leg before wicket for a first ball duck to again put the leg spinner on a hat trick, which he did not get as Chisoro survived.
The series now shifts to Potchestroom with Senwes Park being the venue of the second T20I on Friday evening.
South Africa 160-6 (Van der Dussen 56, Miller 39, Du Plessis 34, Jarvis 3/37 Mpofu 2/24) beat Zimbabwe 126 (Moor 44, Mavuta 28, Williams 21, Tahir 5/23, Dala 2/25, Phehlukwayo 2/25) by 34 runs