Zimbabwe v South Africa, Tri-series, Harare August 29, 2014

Big win for SA despite Utseya hat-trick


South Africa 231 (de Kock 76, Amla 66, Utseya 5-36, Nyumbu 3-42) beat Zimbabwe 170 (Williams 46, McLaren 3-24, Steyn 3-36) by 61 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Prosper Utseya's career-best 5 for 36, which included a hat-trick, was enough for Zimbabwe to bowl South Africa out for just the fourth time in the two countries' competitive history, but not enough to pull off an upset. On a surface where spinners claimed 11 of the 20 wickets to fall, neither side's batsmen were able to settle but Zimbabwe's proved more brittle.

With breaking points at the top, in the middle and at the bottom of their line-up, Zimbabwe could not muster the runs to match a South African XI that was without one of its best batsmen. AB de Villiers was rested for the second time in a week and it seemed South Africa would be made to rue his absence when Zimbabwe reined them in from an opening stand of 142 to conjure a collapse of 9 for 53.

But Zimbabwe went one (or many) worse. They lost their last five wickets for 32 and the five batsmen who managed starts could not convert them into anything more substantial to leave them with the same concerns they have had over the last fortnight.

In the batting department Zimbabwe continue to lack, but their bowling, even without suspended Tinashe Panyangara, prospered. They were able to redirect South Africa after they seemed destined for a third score of over 300 on this Zimbabwe tour.

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock took more risks than usual but they got away with it. Amla offered a return catch to Brian Vitori in the fifth over and could have been run out twice before he reached 25 while de Kock also relied on fortune. He had a chance drop short of cover and was lucky to see an inside-edge scream past the offstump for four.

Once they settled, de Kock targeted Elton Chigumbura's short ball and reached his fifty off 45 deliveries to take the pressure off Amla, who slowed down after the early rush. Amla's half-century came off 70 balls and by then both he and de Kock knew they would have to be more watchful because turn had become a factor.

Sean Williams beat the bat almost immediately and Nyumbu produced flight and zip in his second spell. But it was only when Utseya was introduced brought on that serrations began. He made the initial breakthrough when Amla came down the pitch to one that turned into him, was beaten and found well short of his crease to provide Brendan Taylor an easy stumping chance. Then Utseya plucked through the South Africa's top-order and ploughing into their middle to allow Zimbabwe to dictate proceedings.

De Kock squandered the chance to anchor the innings when he tried to reverse-sweep Utseya over short third man but was caught by a one-handed, leaping Chatara just outside the ring, Rilee Rossouw's first-match first-ball duck was repeated in his second game when he prodded tentatively at a tossed up ball to edge to slip and David Miller was rapped on the front pad when he played for non-existent turn. Those three wickets in three balls made Utseya the second Zimbabwean to claim a hat-trick after Eddo Brandes, in 1997.

South Africa still had Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy at the crease and would have looked to them for a recovery but Zimbabwe were wise to the possibility and quickly shut it down. Utseya and Williams tied South Africa down and tangled them in turn, while generously tossing it up to tempt as well.

Zimbabwe sealed off the boundary for more than half the South African innings and batsmen fell either in frustration or when following flight. Duminy was out lbw when he played outside the line to give Utseya his fifth and du Plessis chipped Nyumbu to midwicket to leave the lower order on their own.

Ironically, it was up to South Africa's spinners to take them out of trouble. Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso's last wicket stand of 36 pushed South Africa over 200 and gave them something to defend.

Before either of the tweakers were needed, Zimbabwe's opening stand was broken. Tino Mawoyo was run-out in the third over to leave Stephen Mangongo with ever-more questions about who best to use at the top. What he will know is that Sikandar Raza is a keeper, but needs to convert. Yet again, Raza showed promise, pounced on width and dealt with the short ball impressively before giving it away later on.

When he was batting with Hamilton Masakadza, Zimbabwe took the fight to South Africa with aggressive boundary-hunting before Phangiso wrested it back. He was introduced in the Powerplay and with his fourth delivery - the arm ball - found the gap between Masakadza's bat and pad to peg back legstump. Taylor left the same gap and was bowled in the next over, with his offstump knocked back, to prolong a lean run for the former captain.

Taylor's dismissal allowed South Africa to keep Zimbabwe quiet with just 24 runs coming from the next six overs. Situations like that are where Raza should show patience but he did not. Imran Tahir had been brought on the over before and Raza had assessed his tendency to flight it but still tried to launch him over long-off and ended up holing out.

South Africa could have sealed the deal three overs later when Malcolm Waller edged Kyle Abbott but the ball went between de Kock and Amla to give Waller a second chance. He went on to share in the biggest partnership of Zimbabwe's innings, 46 with Sean Williams, but succumbed to the short ball to leave Williams to be the hero.

Williams threatened with confident strokeplay off the front and back foot but threw it away when he flicked Ryan McLaren to Amla at midwicket. With that, Zimbabwe hopes faded and when McLaren picked up two wickets in successive balls two overs later, they disappeared altogether to condemn them to a seventh straight defeat.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on August 31, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    Suggestions that Morkel be dropped had me check his record, those of the ICC top 20 ODI bowlers, & the ALL TIME ODI records. I was absolutely ASTOUNDED!

    ICC top 20: only Sajeed Ajmal's ave is 1.71 beats Morkel's 23.87, his Econ 0.72 beats Morkel's 4.85, but Morkel's SR of 29.5 is 2.6 runs better than Ajmal's 32.1. All the rest have worse figs than Morkel.

    ALL TIME best ODI Bowling Ave (min 1000 balls.) 5 current bowlers have better figs than Morkel. Ryan Harris - Ave 18.97, Econ 4.84, SR 23.4 - phenomenal. BJ Mendis - found out, & finished. Sajeed Ajma, as above. NZ's Mitchell McClenaghan, slightly better ave, great SR, high Econ. Amit Mishra, fraction better ave, worse SR. That is it!

    Yep, Steyn, Johnson, Anderson, Narine & other supposed "stars" have WORSE career figs than Morne Morkel.

    BUT WAIT. Unbelievable SURPRISE! There's someone even better! The ALL TIME BEST ODI BOWLING AVE of 17.8, a run LESS than Joel Garner, belongs to .... IMRAN TAHIR.

    I kid you not! Go and check!

  • creebo on August 30, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    miller jp has been poor.elgar and rossouw cant do worse,david wiese my bat for that 7 slot.he can give u 10overs but his batting been poor,maybe de lange for morkel

  • Ian on August 30, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    @Prabath, Lets wait until Feb 2015 before we make assumptions, We are talking about a totally different outfit here, In Aus however I doubt any of the SC teams will advance very far

  • Amol on August 30, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    Prbath Neranja: Only a Sri-Lankan can defend Sri-Lankan players so passionately especially while comparing with the individual talent hailing from Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan. Especially when all their team work has never been able to lift Srl-Lanka to an commendable rankings either in TEst or ODIs. The only guys great from SRL was Murali and...may be Jayasuriya. Everyone else is over-rated.

  • Android on August 30, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    india are not going to far.....i believe with the fab4 we have at the top of the order we are good enough for big matches ....i cant think they will be rank turners in australia and nz....so people like miller and duminy will get that easy job of finishing things when the wicket is flat.amla will graft his 50+ scores.dekock will be explosive basically everyone playing their roles.....i believe we have a good team abbott and di lange with the ball asisting steyn...mclaren and tahir finishing off

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    @ForeverProteas49 , it's up to you to decide me real or not, and I want to point out that big games mean ICC WC QFs, SF and finals, how many times AB came up with such performance and won you on of those matches? I have no doubt about his ability, but he is not a big match player like, MSD, Sangakkara,Mahelas,Dilshan,Malinga,, kholi

  • Ian on August 30, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    @B.C.G aaaaah yes, to Parnell or not to Parnell, will he win it for us or will he give it away, huge gamble to take, after Johnson taking him apart like that I don't know, De Lange seems the safer option, fab economy and wicket taker

  • dylan on August 30, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    We the proteas have a big problem, miller is not firing and there are no indications that he will for the WC and we desperately need a quality batting all-rounder in the klusener or hall mould because for the wc we will have steyn/morkel/tahir/mclaren as given 4 bowlers the big Q is who is the 5th.......... parnell takes sticks sometimes but he can go for plenty and his batting leaves us a bit short with a line-up that ends with miller-who is failing at the moment...... so the other options are really philander(bowling style not suited to aus) albie & R. peterson (both very inconsistent) wiese (unproven)

  • Phillip on August 30, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    @nixnixon-That team of yours only has 4 bowlers.JP is improving but you can't expect him to bowl 10 every match.Ahhhhhhh if only Parnell....

  • Richard on August 30, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game:- Always look forward to playing you guys. If we win we'll have earned it.

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