Smith and Kemp power South Africa to another big win
South Africa 329 for 6 (Smith 117, Gibbs 75, Kemp 53*, Mpofu 3-59) beat Zimbabwe 198 for 7 (Rogers 47) by 131 runs, and lead three-match series 2-0
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Graeme Smith's third one-day century - all of them in the last 24 days - and a stunning late burst from Justin Kemp, whose half-century came from only 19 balls, hoisted South Africa to 329 for 6 after they were put in at Durban. It was the highest total in an ODI at Kingsmead, beating South Africa's 280 for 4 against Pakistan in 1997-98, and it was always going to be enough to ensure a winning 2-0 lead in this short series against the inexperienced Zimbabweans.
Smith started carefully, taking 71 balls to reach his half-century on a slowish pitch that offered a little bounce and turn to the bowlers. He had a minor repair job on his hands, too: after an opening stand of 49, three wickets went down for 18 to leave South Africa in a dicey position at 67 for 3.
But the old firm of Smith and Herschelle Gibbs - the usual Test opening pair - put South Africa back on top with a solid fourth-wicket partnership. Both had close shaves: Gibbs had made only 5 when he cut Hamilton Masakadza uppishly past the diving backward point, and later Smith lobbed an aerial on-drive off Gavin Ewing just over the head of the lanky Christopher Mpofu on the wide mid-on boundary.
They hit the accelerator after the halfway mark, and the stand was eventually worth 134 when Gibbs tried once too often to batter Barney Rogers back over his head, and gave a return catch. His 75 came from only 73 balls, and included eight fours and a six. Two of those fours came from the first two deliveries from Prosper Utseya - the pick of Zimbabwe's bowlers in the first match - and he never settled, finishing up with 0 for 60 from six overs.
Today it was another of Zimbabwe's clutch of low-slung offspinners, Ewing, who was the tidiest on display. He pitched the ball well up, turned it a touch, and conceded only 44 runs in his ten overs. Mpofu picked up three wickets, but was expensive at the end, and contributed seven of Zimbabwe's 16 wides.
Smith surged to his century from 123 balls, then smashed Stuart Matsikenyeri for successive sixes towards wide long-on. He eventually perished for a career-best 117 - a marvellous effort on a searingly hot and humid day - but his departure only ushered in Kemp, who was soon endangering the spectators at wide long-on. His first six was swatted over midwicket, but then three more soared into the crowd near the scoreboard. Ashwell Prince departed for a perky 30 (288 for 6), but Kemp powered on, reaching his half-century from only 19 balls with a howitzered straight four off Mpofu, shortly after collecting his fifth six, a dizzyingly high straight chip. In all 103 were piled on in the last eight overs.
Earlier Adam Bacher had nurdled to 18 before he tried to hit Mpofu over the top, and got a thick edge. The ball spiralled to third man, where Tawanda Mupariwa, the substitute, clung on to a good catch (49 for 1). Mupariwa was fielding after Tinashe Panyangara limped off in the middle of his fourth over, which was completed by Masakadza.
In came Albie Morkel, who clubbed some hearty blows at the end of the innings in the first match at the Wanderers. But he didn't contribute much as a pinch-hitter here, managing only two singles before slogging Mpofu vertically to Tatenda Taibu (57 for 2). Then, in the 15th over, Jacques Rudolph was unlucky when he connected well with an attacking shot off Masakadza, but only drilled it straight to Utseya (67 for 3).
Zimbabwe made a useful start but, as was always likely, they fell away once they tried to accelerate as the required rate rose. A subdued Matsikenyeri put on 71 with Rogers, scoring only 16 from 44 balls before spooning Morkel's slower ball high to Kemp in the deep. Rogers was more attacking, collecting seven fours - the pick of them a classical cover-drive off Morkel - but he fell just short of his half-century, sending another Morkel slower one low to Nicky Boje at mid-on (80 for 2).
Alester Maregwede hit one spiffing four off Boje, before misjudging a straight one from the part-time seamer Bacher and losing his off stump. That made it 103 for 3, and the slide had begun. Masakadza, reprieved early on by umpire Billy Doctrove after gloving Morkel through to Mark Boucher, finally fell for 20 to Boje, who also removed Brendan Taylor for 23 (133 for 5).
The death-knell sounded when Taibu chipped the unprepossessing Bacher to mid-off, where Andrew Hall dived to take a superb catch (164 for 6). All that was left was for Zimbabwe to bat out their 50 overs, which they did - but the margin of defeat, 131 runs after the 165-run first-match thumping, only emphasises the gulf between these two teams. The return of Heath Streak can't come quickly enough for Zimbabwe - and even his presence will only close the yawning gap a little.
Steven Lynch is the editor of Cricinfo.