SA Composite XI v ZImbabwe XI, Kimberley January 6, 2008

Battling Zimbabwe earn hard-fought victory

Cricinfo staff

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

Keith Dabengwa's first-innings 79 set Zimbabwe's recovery on its way © Getty Images
A Zimbabwe XI secured a comprehensive win over a South African Composite XI at Kimberley, battling back from a first-innings deficit to win by 134 runs on the final afternoon.

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.