Battling Zimbabwe earn hard-fought victory
Zimbabwe 256 (Dabengwa 79) and 417 (Williams 107, Taibu 78, Chigumbura 71, Utseya 57) beat South African Composite XI 353 (McLaren 80, Koortzen 80, Jeggels 53, Utseya 5-70) and 186 by 134 runs
Zimbabwe slid to 111 for 6 on the first day before Keith Dabengwa's 79 steered them to a respectable 256. A brace of 80s from Adrian MacLaren and Petrus Koortzen enabled the home side to take a lead of 97, and it would have been more but for a marathon spell from Prosper Utseya, who finished with 5 for 70, on the second afternoon.
Resuming on 42 for 2, still 55 in arrears, Zimbabwe lost Hamilton Mazakadza early on the third day, but then Tatenda Taibi, on a pair, and Sean Williams stole the show with a fourth-wicket stand of 184. The irony was that the selection of Williams, who completed his second first-class hundred, was opposed by some hardliners among the Zimbabwe selectors. When the two of them went, Zimbabwe were still in trouble on 270 for 6 before Elton Chigumbura and Utseya cut loose against a tiring attack.
Set a target of 321 in almost a full day, Christopher Mpofu blasted out both openers as the SA Composite XI slid to 64 for 5. Riaan Jeggels and Wendell Bossenger steadied the ship and the for a time rain took the players from the field. But when they resumed it took only 15 balls for the Zimbabweans to grab the last three wickets and secure a well-deserved victory.