Zimbabwe v South Africa, T20 tri-series, Harare June 23, 2012

Levi leads South Africa into final

South Africa 130 for 4 (Levi 54) beat Zimbabwe 124 for 6 (Cremer 36*, Parnell 3-16) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa's bowlers finally arrived in Harare, keeping Zimbabwe to a below-par total in a must-win encounter to book their place in the tri-series final. Zimbabwe, however, managed to delay defeat until the 18th over, which allowed them to qualify as well, pipping Bangladesh on net run-rate. Bangladesh needed the hosts to lose inside 15 overs.

An improved Wayne Parnell did the bulk of the damage on a sluggish pitch. His triple-strike midway through the Zimbabwe innings left South Africa with a moderate total to chase. Richard Levi took control of the reply and his half-century led South Africa to a relatively straight-forward win.

Zimbabwe had decided to bat and Hamilton Masakadza showed his intent early on, flat-batting Chris Morris for a stunning six over cover. He did not have much support, though, as Vusi Sibanda was out lbw to a full, straight ball from Morris, and Brendan Taylor holed out to mid-on.

Masakadza tried to rebuild the innings but became Parnell's first victim when he decided to accelerate. Masakadza cut towards cover, where Farhaan Berhardien took a low catch that had to be referred to the television umpire. It was shown to be clean and Masakadza's run of three fifties in as many matches, ended. Parnell struck again in that over to remove Malcolm Waller.

Both wicket-taking deliveries in Parnell's first over were fairly ordinary but he showed marked improvement from the previous matches through better lines and lengths. He claimed a third scalp when Elton Chigumbura edged a ball that moved away slightly.

When Chigumbura departed, Zimbabwe were only five down but their tail was already at the crease. It was up to Stuart Matsikenyeri to prevent a collapse and he did through his 32-run stand with Graeme Cremer. An Albie Morkel slower ball eventually accounted for Matsikenyeri, when he hit down the ground and du Plessis took a one-handed catch looking into the sun. Cremer stuck around until the end and showed good temperament to combine with Prosper Utseya and give Zimbabwe 124 to defend.

Zimbabwe's only real sniff at making things difficult for South Africa came in the first over of the chase. Hashim Amla tried to flick Chris Mpofu fine on the leg-side but got an edge that carried to Taylor.

Amla's dismissal allowed for the much-heralded pair of Richard Levi and Faf du Plessis to combine. Levi dominated the 55-run stand and muscled anything too full or straight, which all the Zimbabwe seamers were guilty of bowling, over the leg-side. Du Plessis was caught behind in Jarvis' second over but Levi powered on.

When Levi was run out in the 11th over, he had done enough to put South Africa on course. Richard Muzhange's yorkers and Cremer's googlies, however, kept South Africa at bay long enough to ensure Zimbabwe also qualified. Justin Ontong and Behardien could not find the boundary in their 34-run partnership but they secured South Africa's place in the final.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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