22 August 2014
The Proteas completed a comprehensive 3-0 series whitewash of Zimbabwe, winning by seven wickets with 136 balls to spare in the third one-day international in Bulawayo on Thursday.
South Africa had won the previous two ODIs by 93 and 61 runs. Despite many of the team’s big name stars sitting out the third 50 overs a side contest, including, among others, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, their win at the Queens Sports Club was arguably their most emphatic of the series.
With the national selectors opting to rest their big guns, there were one-day international debuts for batsman Rilee Rossouw and bowler Mthokozisi Shezi.
After winning the toss, South African skipper Faf du Plessis chose to bowl and his bowlers made the decision look good as they ran roughshod through the Zimbabwean batting order.
Only three batsmen made it into double figures as the hosts tallied just 165 all out, which served to underline how poor their batting effort was, and how good the South African bowling and Elton Chigumbura’s innings of 90 was.
It could have been far worse for Zimbabwe, who had been reduced to 119 for 9 after losing five wickets in the space of only 15 runs, but Chigumbura and Tinashe Panyangara, who faced 12 balls without scoring, put on 46 for the last wicket before Chigumbura was out. The Zimbawean captain’s 90 came off of 122 deliveries, with 10 fours and two sixes.
Marchant de Lange led the Proteas’ bowlers with a haul of 3 for 31 in 7.5 overs, while Kyle Abbott claimed 2 for 21 in six and Wayne Parnell 2 for 33 in eight. Shezi bowled tightly in his first ODI, capturing 1 for 8 in six overs and Aaron Phangiso snared 1 for 13 in six too.
Rilee Rossouw’s opportunity at the top of the order did not last long as he was unfortunately run out for a duck in the very first over. His opening partner Quinton de Kock, however, steered South Africa to victory.
The left-hander struck 84 off of only 75 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, as South Africa reached the victory target in the 28th over. Faf du Plessis added good support with an innings of 40 off 33 balls.
De Kock, who finished the series with 185 runs, more than anyone else, and an average of 61.66, was named the Man of the Series.
World record equalled
During the series he equalled the world record for the fastest player to 1 000 ODI runs, joining West Indian legend Viv Richards and South African-born Englishmen Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott on that mark after only 21 innings. However, he said, he was not driven by records.
“It doesn’t interest me,” he admitted. “It’s more something for the fans to keep them interested. Some of the players do enjoy stats, but I’m very chilled about it.”
Ahead of next week’s triangular series, which also features Zimbabwe and Australia, stand-in captain Faf du Plessis said he was pleased with the Proteas’ outing. “I think we covered our bases pretty well,” he said.
“The bowlers were solid throughout the series and so was our batting. There weren’t any blow-ups. Luckily we are getting Dale (Steyn) and Morne (Morkel) back and we are coming up against strong opposition in the form of Australia.
“When you play a team like that you have to be on top of your game. It’s nice for us from a confidence point of view to have dominated Zimbabwe in the last three games.”