Spinner Imran Tahir took a hat-trick on his way to 6-24 while Dale Steyn hit a career-best 60 as South Africa raced to a 120-run win over Zimbabwe in the second ODI at Mangaung Oval yesterday.
Earlier, a record eighth-wicket partnership of 75 from Andile Phehlukwayo and Dale Steyn spared some of South Africa’s blushes as the home team were dismissed for a disappointing 198 in 47.3 overs.
Zimbabwe’s chase never get going as they were bowled out for 78 runs inside 24 overs.
Steyn, playing his first ODI since October 2016, struck a career best 60 in 85 balls (8×4, 1×6) – his maiden ODI half-century – to give him and his fellow bowlers something to bowl at when Zimbabwe make their reply.
The legendary fast bowler reached the mark with a glorious straight drive for six off seamer Donald Tiripano before becoming the last wicket to fall.
South Africa’s total was not a great deal better than their lowest of 185 against their neighbours in the 1999 World Cup.
With his team one up in the three-match series, Proteas’ skipper JP Duminy had no hesitation in choosing to bat after he won the toss on what looked like a good pitch for batting, but as it turned out neither the uneven surface, nor South Africa’s batting, impressed.
At one stage, the South African innings had reached crisis point on 101 for seven in the 26th over with their captain, JP Duminy, back in the hut for just five, but allrounder Phehlukwayo and Steyn subsequently repaired some of the damage with a sensible partnership.
The Zimbabwe bowlers generally showed good discipline, particularly in the first half of the innings with Kyle Jarvis (2-26 and Tendai Chatara (3-42) especially impressive.
The pair scythed through the South African top order with Chatara making the first breakthrough when he induced Dean Elgar to edge a prod outside the off-stump to wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor, before Reeza Hendricks was undone by a delivery from Jarvis that kept low.
Opener Aiden Markram looked good for his 35, striking most of his six boundaries with fluent strokes off the back foot through the covers, but his signature stroke was eventually his undoing as he edged Tiripano to Taylor.
Middle-order batsmen Khaya Zondo and Christiaan Jonker both got into the 20s without looking especially convincing before departing to soft dismissals, while Heinrich Klaasen’s favoured pull proved his undoing early on in his innings.
In defence of South Africa’s batsmen, the up-and-down pitch was not easy to bat on, but Steyn in particular showed that runs were available with sensible batting.
SOUTH AFRICA: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy (capt), Khaya Zondo, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Christiaan Jonker, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi
ZIMBABWE: Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Brandon Mavuta, Kyle Jarvis, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara.