Duminy stars in crushing win
South Africa 331 for 5 (Duminy 111*, Kallis 81, Smith 53) beat Zimbabwe 119 (Taibu 52, Morkel 3-20, van der Merwe 3-27) by 212 runs
On the very day their nation's administrators unveiled a three-year plan for Zimbabwe's return to the cricketing mainstream, South Africa's cricketers provided evidence to suggest such projections were optimistic. JP Duminy blasted his maiden ODI century, and South Africa's fielders held onto a succession of spectacular catches as the hosts romped to a 212-run victory.
South Africa thunderous win at Centurion coincided with an announcement at the Wanderers relating to a joint CSA-ZC initiative aimed at restoring Zimbabwe to Test cricket within three years. Executives from both sides of the border spoke glowingly of Zimbabwe's revival prospects, but the team's performance further up the Ben Schoeman Highway suggested much work still needs to be done.
Zimbabwe were never a realistic chance of reeling in South Africa's intimidating 331 for 5, and eventually capitulated for 119 inside 35 overs. Tatenda Taibu was leaned upon to produce the lion's share of his side's runs, 52 from 71 deliveries, only for his team-mates to again prove they are some way short of international standard. Their cause was not helped by the athletic fielding of the South Africans - Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers all claimed catches worthy of the highlight reel - while Charl Langeveldt continued his successful re-entry to sanctioned cricket with a three-wicket haul.
Earlier, Kallis and Graeme Smith were at their bludgeoning in raising half-centuries at the top of the innings. Kallis, making his return from a side strain, signalled his intentions early by cutting Kyle Jarvis for six in the second over, followed by a brace of boundaries off Chris Mpofu. Smith was slower out of the blocks - indeed, he was granted a life when Brendan Taylor turfed a straight-forward chance at point off the bowling of Mpofu - but the South African skipper soon found his range. Cutting, pulling and driving with power, Smith plundered 14 runs from Jarvis's fourth over and raced to a half-century 39 balls in the making.
Zimbabwe finally broke through in the 18th over when Smith attempted to slog-sweep Prosper Utseya out of the ground and was neatly stumped by Taibu. de Villiers followed shortly after, playing inside to a straightening Ray Price delivery that clipped the top of leg-stump, but not before South Africa had laid the groundwork for an imposing total.
Price was comfortably the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers, using a flat trajectory and subtle turn to stem the flow of runs. He claimed the additional wickets of Alviro Petersen and Albie Morkel, and might well have pushed for a five-for had his team-mates proved more dexterous in the field. Utseya, too, bowled steadily, but his combination with Price could not cover for the profligate ways of Zimbabwe's other bowlers. All came in for heavy punishment from Duminy, who showed few ill-effects from his recent shin injury in charging to an unbeaten 111.
Duminy was in superb touch from the outset, twice reverse sweeping the leg spinner Graeme Cremer to the boundary early in his innings before adopting a more conventional attack plan. He was particularly brutal in his treatment of the Zimbabwean seamers in the closing overs in an innings that has no doubt prompted a few nervous glances among the English camp.
Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo