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South Africa win despite Taibu ton
by Jinu Sabastian


Ground:Willowmoore Park Main Oval, Benoni
Scorecard:South Africa v Zimbabwe
Player:S Matsikenyeri, T Taibu, JA Morkel, AB de Villiers, HM Amla, GC Smith
Event:Zimbabwe in South Africa 2009/10

DateLine: 8th November 2009

 

South Africa won the first ODI despite a fighting century from Taibu. The match was too close for comfort for the Proteas as Taibu and Matsikenyeri joined forces to add 188 for the sixth wicket to give a genuine scare to the South African team.

 

On winning the toss Utseya elected to field believing that his bowlers had the ammunition to run through a powerful looking South African batting line-up. Smith struggled initially but as the innings proceeded the burly left-hander slowly found his timing. Amla never looked in any sort of discomfort and the opening pair slowly pushed the run-rate up. Smith peppered the cover fence repeatedly with some well timed shots and stamped his authority over the Zimbabwean bowlers with a huge six over midwicket off Mpofu. Utseya was forced to introduce spin and that move gave Zimbabwe their first success.

 

Smith slog-swept one straight to Mpofu at square-leg as the first South African wicket fell. de Villiers, promoted up the order to No. 3, scored a fluent 48-ball half-century, before picking out long-off where Mark Vermeulen took the catch. Amla finally chipped lamely to midwicket and when Boucher departed the South African score read 202 for 4 in 38.2 overs. Morkel, whose position in the team was under question, took his time to settle down. Once he got his eye in the boundaries started to flow. Morkel collected three sixes and three boundaries to help the South African side post a challenging total of 295 for 5 in 50 overs.

 

Zimbabwe in reply found their innings in tatters as the South African seamers ripped apart the batting line-up. Tsotsobe started the slide when he removed Vermeulen and McLaren joined the act as he trapped Chibhabha leg before to claim his maiden ODI wicket. McLaren then claimed his second ODI wicket when he induced an edge from the bat of Taylor and Steyn joined the party as he claimed the wicket of Masakadza and Chigumbura to reduce the innings to 48 for 5 in 17 overs.

 

Taibu was joined in the middle by Matsikenyeri and the two then tried to minimise the damage. The pair treated the bowling on its merit as the two slowly but steadily got the innings moving. Though the chase was well beyond their reach the pair did ignite a glimmer of hope in the Zimbabwean dressing room with a spunky partnership. The duo added 188 for the sixth wicket in 31.5 overs to put some pressure on the home side. Taibu completed a well deserved century but in the end Zimbabwe fell short by 45 runs.


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