ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

SA v Zimbabwe, World Cup warm-up match, Chennai

Tahir takes three as South Africa win easily

Firdose Moonda in Chennai

February 12, 2011

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Jacques Kallis enjoyed his return to action, finishing unbeaten on 49, South Africa v Zimbabwe, World Cup warm-up match, Chennai, February 12, 2011
Jacques Kallis enjoyed his return to action after injury, finishing unbeaten on 49 © AFP
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South Africa 153 for 2 (Kallis 49*, Price 1-19) beat Zimbabwe 152 (Taylor 40, Morkel 3-16) by eight wickets

A commanding performance by South Africa's spin bowlers, bounce from Morne Morkel and a clinical showing with the bat gave them a convincing victory over Zimbabwe in their first warm-up match in Chennai.

South Africa had what Zimbabwean coach Alan Butcher called an "inadequate total" to chase and went about it in authoritative fashion. They reached the target of 153 inside 24 overs and only lost two wickets in the process. Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith laid the platform with a first wicket partnership of 69.

Amla reverted back to the wild side of himself that he displayed in the first few ODIs against India in January, even though he previously indicated that he would steer away from such extravagant play. His first boundary came off the first ball, a flashy shot that Brendan Taylor should have caught at first slip but let through. That served only to spur Amla on and he played some flashy shots to complement a few beautiful boundaries in his 45. He became South African's first wicket, falling to Ray Price.

Smith was far more controlled and made particularly good use of the cut shot in his 41. South Africa's standout batsman was Jacques Kallis, who looked in dangerous form in his first innings since returning from injury. Kallis has been out of action for six weeks but returned looking as good as ever. "It was a nice knock for him and will be good for his confidence," Smith said. "Now we will look to build him up to the next stage, which will be bowling." Kallis played no part with the ball, although he did field.

Zimbabwe's bowlers were taken apart but Butcher was satisfied that they "did an okay job." They used three spinners, including Prosper Utseya, who they opened with, and Butcher said that the strategy of opening with a spinner is one they will in all likelihood continue with. "Our spinners have been out best bowlers over the last year or so and in these conditions it will suit us to open with a spinner, as we have been doing. I'll be surprised if other sides don't do the same at some stage in the World Cup."

Zimbabwe's woes were more about their batting than their bowling and they were bundled out for 152 by a rampant South African outfit. Their opening partnership puzzle looks to be solved with Taylor and Charles Coventry putting on a solid 49 for the first wicket. Captain Elton Chigumbura was disappointed that the team could not build on that "good start."

Morne Morkel removed Coventry and Tatenda Taibu with successive balls to start the Zimbabwean collapse. Morkel was the only South African seamer to take wickets and Smith was particularly impressed with his performance. "Even on a slow, dead wicket, he was still hitting us pretty hard in the slips. He has some good performances back home and it's nice to see him being consistent."

Dale Steyn was unconvincing in his first spell, bowling slower than usual while not receiving any assistance from the track. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was injured after bowling just two overs. He suffered a mild sprain to his right knee while fielding at fine leg. Team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee said they "didn't want to risk using him" in the rest of that match and he will be reassessed on Sunday morning.

South Africa's spinners did the rest of the damage, with Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson introduced in successive overs. Tahir's appearance on the international stage was widely anticipated and when he came on in the 14th over, he was met by a loud cheer from the local crowd. He went wicketless for four overs, while Robin Peterson was the man succeeding at the other end.

Petersen removed Greg Lamb and Elton Chigumbura with the second and fifth balls of his second over while Brendan Taylor weathered the storm with confidence. He became the first of Tahir's three victims. Butcher said believes Tahir will "have an impact" in the tournament and Chigumbura praised his "good lines and good areas."

With Zimbabwe at 95 for 6, South Africa should have wrapped up the tail quickly but Sean Williams and Regis Chakabva resisted for a while. Morne Morkel broke their partnership while Tahir mopped up the bottom order. "He was a little bit excitable upfront, but then he calmed down and got some wickets," Smith said.

Both captains were surprised by the pitch, with Chigumbura saying his batsmen "expected it to turn more and played the wrong lines." Smith said "it was not a great wicket and a bit underprepared" but he expects it to be ready for the main tournament.

Chennai's first match of the tournament is in eight days time but it will play host to a warm-up game between India and New Zealand on Wednesday. South Africa's play their second warm-up game in Bangalore on Tuesday and Zimbabwe take on Ireland in Nagpur on the same day.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 12 
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Posted by Rafid on (February 13, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

If Tahir performs well in the warm-up match against Australia, then there will be good chance that he will play the WC games.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 13, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

i think Thair is a good spin option for South Africa.........

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 13, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

I dont thnk Tahir will even get a place in the starting XI... not till Botha has some horrid time in the start... they cant drop steyn, morkel and tsotsobe...Botha gives them the edge with the bat... neither can they opt to play Tahir alongwith those 4 as it will lengthen their tail a bit too much for an ODI game...

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 12, 2011, 21:33 GMT)

well done guyz!! try try try and try again with u all the way!

Posted by titch on (February 12, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

Good show from south africa, quite professional how the spinners did their work today! Zim were looking good the first 10 overs but their heavy reliance on taylor and the near absence of a middle order will not put them in good stead come the second round when they will be playing against stronger teams. Coventry should be given a chance , he has the class , chakabva and ervine should play well together ..though i doubt where rainsford fits in it its not to bowl first and bat after ..he didnt bowl today nor did elton. i seee zim winning against Canada and New Zealand ,Kenya and the usual world cup wipping boys Australia to go to the second round....

Posted by stephon on (February 12, 2011, 20:37 GMT)

zim coul win dis world cup u no tink about it

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 12, 2011, 20:00 GMT)

Can't we say Morkel takes three insted of Tahir takes three. The guy has taken 3 including two tale-end wickets and thats too against Zim. Big deal

Posted by Lalith on (February 12, 2011, 18:53 GMT)


Posted by Dummy4 on (February 12, 2011, 18:40 GMT)


Posted by Johan on (February 12, 2011, 17:23 GMT)

As a thru and thru Saffer, it is nice to see the lads had a nice warmup. Tsotsobe is a worry, his the man for this WC, hope it is not serious. The King is back, batting in style... Welcome to the world stage Tahir, the 3 sticks is a lekker 1st outing! I am not to worried about the silverware, but do us proud, I know this team can, and if you play at 1/2 of your potential, a few cups would be in the offing!

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