Zimbabwe v South Africa, Tri-series, Harare

Zimbabwe chase another glory day

The Preview by Firdose Moonda

September 3, 2014

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Start time 0930 local (0730GMT)

JP Duminy was trapped lbw by Prosper Utseya, Zimbabwe v South Africa, tri-series, Harare, August 29, 2014
Can Zimbabwe compete throughout the game? © AFP

The tricky equation

  • 133 - The margin by which Zimbabwe need to beat South Africa to eliminate them from the final, if Zimbabwe bat first and score 250. If South Africa bat first and score 200, Zimbabwe will need to chase the total down in about 23.3 overs.

Big Picture

Zimbabwe forced the one-way traffic into a u-turn last week when they beat Australia to put themselves in contention for the final. That possibility faded two days later when Australia beat South Africa by a bonus point to leave the neighbours to tussle it out for the remaining spot, although it is South Africa's to lose.

Zimbabwe will have to beat South Africa and beat them properly. Not only will they need a bonus point but their margin of victory will have to be big enough to see their net run-rate balloon beyond what may be deemed realistic. Instead, the hosts may have to content themselves with smaller success of simply competing with and challenging South Africa.

It has been a tough three weeks of fifty-over cricket for Zimbabwe. They have toggled with various combinations, dealt with suspensions and injuries and have been trapped in a tunnel of defeat until the light came on on Sunday. That one match showed Zimbabwe's promise and the value of regular game time. This could be their last international fixture until they tour Bangladesh in October so going out with a bang will be on their minds.

South Africa will have more immediate matters to take care of. Their plans were thrown slightly off track with the loss to Australia, so they can no longer use the final game for experimentation but rather for practice in must-win situations. Victory is not essential for them but it would significantly ease the passage into Saturday's final, where they can test themselves in a pressure-cooker situation ahead of next year's World Cup.

Form guide

(last five completed games most recent first)
Zimbabwe WLLLL
South Africa LWWWW

In the spotlight

Zimbabwe's ability to play the complete game has only been on display once in the tournament. The test for them is to see if they can do it again and they will need their batting in particular to pull its weight. Zimbabwe's attack has done a good containing job throughout but their batsmen have been prone to collapses. If both can work as well as they did two days ago, Zimbabwe will be happy to see consistency at last.

The two main concerns for Russell Domingo after the defeat to Australia would have been the recurring problems: South Africa's middle order and their death bowling. Neither may get the opportunity to show improvement in a fixture which could take on a completely different complexion to their previous one but if they do the spotlight will be on JP Duminy and David Miller to see whether they can turn starts into something more significant. The injury to Ryan McLaren* only exacerbates the troubles with their death bowling.

Team news

It would be cruel to leave out any of the men who beat Australia on Sunday and although Zimbabwe have tinkered with their team in every match, they could go with the same XI. Barring a change in seamer, no-one's place should be under threat.

Zimbabwe: (likely) 1 Sikandar Raza, 2 Tino Mawoyo, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (wk), 5 Sean Williams, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 John Nyumbu, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Donald Tiripano

Had South Africa been 100% certain of their place in the final, they would have used this match for experimentation but they do not have that luxury. The would have liked to go in with their first-choice XI but the hairline fracture to McLaren means they are likely to pick either Wayne Parnell or Kyle Abbott. Morne Morkel could also sit out if his shoulder injury flares up.

South Africa: (likely) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Aaron Phangiso, 11 Imran Tahir

Pitch and conditions

Strips are being reused and the one on which the final round-robin match will be played is certain to have featured in the tournament before. AB de Villiers has already described the surfaces as tired and Faf du Plessis said South Africa expect a sluggish and spinning pitch, which suggests another session of laboured run-scoring and low run-rates. At least there is less of a chance of any of the players suffering from heat-induced cramp. Temperatures in Harare have dipped from the high 20s into the low ones which should make for more comfortable conditions all round.

Stats and trivia

  • Prosper's Utseya's five-for the last time these teams met has made him his country's highest wicket-taker against South Africa with 19 scalps, leapfrogging Heath Streak, who has 17.

  • Both Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have three centuries against Zimbabwe while Brendan Taylor is the batsman with the most number of hundreds at Harare Sports Club - also three.


"I think the guys know that they still have a job to do and I can't see them growing any big heads before they have improved. I would like us to improve on our rankings I think that if we work hard, with the experience that these guys have, I am sure we can improve on that."
Stephen Mangongo says his players are level-headed before their do-or-die match.

"We feel that Zimbabwe is a threat now. They play well in these conditions and the prepare wickets that suit them. We expect a slow-turner in the next match. We need to beat them now. I don't think it's time to rest players."
Faf du Plessis said South Africa are planning to present their best-side to Zimbabwe for the final group stage match

* September 3, 2014 4.40pm GMT This story was updated to include news of Ryan McLaren's injury

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

RSS Feeds: Firdose Moonda

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by proteasfire on (September 4, 2014, 18:13 GMT)

@Greatest_Game Faf averaged 27 by batting at #5 or #6 until this series. He was moved to #3 and his batting average has jumped from 27 to 34 and is surely to touch 40 soon if he continues in the same vein. Do you think Faf is an awful batsman too? Miller is pure class. He will prove someday. We should wait and watch!!

Posted by Sal0891 on (September 4, 2014, 7:43 GMT)

@Pakisthan_Fan There is no reason to talk about Ind here. Beter look for your team is they capable to score atleast 250 atleast any of those matches.

Posted by android_user on (September 4, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

Sa don't have a good spinner

Posted by anver777 on (September 4, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

I wish ZIM upset SA & qualify for FINAL..... home crowd is with them & they almost did it in the 1st outing against them, so any thing can happen !!! anyway good luck to both !!!

Posted by pandian_ikku on (September 4, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

This Zimbabwe team can beat India in a ODI series.

Posted by wapuser on (September 4, 2014, 4:55 GMT)

I am always surprise by the fact that sa has a good bowling line up but what mess up me is that why don't they try Yorker in depth over rather than going for short pitch or pace only,at least try to to ball slower ball too.best of luck for today's game,hope to see your improvement

Posted by dillyk on (September 4, 2014, 4:03 GMT)

@jamie moneghan............ delange is serious express pace and the fastest bowler we have in sa at the moment and capable of cranking it into the 150 kh's, he gets good bounce but not as exaggerated as morkel, but delange bowls a very heavy ball which with his pace and bounce makes him truly unpleasant to face. He does not however get good shape on the ball in his delivery and hence does not strike the seam as often or swing it very effectively..... hoping he can work on his release because then he really will be a handfull

Posted by Greatest_Game on (September 4, 2014, 3:37 GMT)

@ Sathesh_Krishnan thinks miller is a fine batsman. @ Sathesh_Krishnan is as wrong as wrong can be. Miller is an AWFUL batsman - he is a slogger. We are talking about International ODIs here, not franchise T20 hit & miss club leagues played on specially prepared roads.

Since the Sri Lanka tour in 2013 he has batted in 18 innings, averaging 24.83. In twelve (66.66%) of those innings he was dismissed, and averaged 15.16! In six (33.33%) of those innings he was not dismissed, and averaged 19.33.

His career ave is 30.53 after 44 inning batted. he was not out in 14, or 31.81% of those innings. Do you see the pattern here. His batting average is bloated by not-out innings, and when broken down it is clear that he does not perform on the international stage.

To put it plainly, he is a bad batsman, and just a flat track bully. A few big IPL innings do not make an international ODI player. Period!

Posted by proteasfire on (September 4, 2014, 3:22 GMT)

De Lange is excellent talent. He should be slotted into the squad straight away. SA also should bring back Chris Morris once he is fit. He will be much better than McLaren or Philander in all rounder category. Morris bowls 140+ easily and is a strike bowler. SA have plenty of great talent in them. Donno why they couldnt select right combination that can win them most of the games.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (September 4, 2014, 2:16 GMT)

@JamieM De Lange bowled with a lot of pace in his first game back. Compared to the other SA quicks he was noticable faster and the batsmen were uncomfortable. For me he is a far better option than Morkel because of his aggression and accuracy. I think the selectors are wrapping him in cottonwool for this series but we will see him in the ODI games in Oz for sure. The tracks there will suit him more too.

Posted by Chris_P on (September 4, 2014, 1:44 GMT)

@BellCurve No doubt deKock has talent, but greater than Gilchrist???? Let's judge him over his career before elevating him to such rarified heights.

Posted by android_user on (September 3, 2014, 23:25 GMT)

Hi zim nd sa fans, who are expected to do well from both sides seeing the pitch conditions?

Posted by Mushtanda on (September 3, 2014, 21:41 GMT)

Wishful thinking. Not gonna happen. One swallow does not a summer make. One fluke win does not make them a good team

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (September 3, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

@SA fans. What type of fast bowler De Lange as hearing lots of people mention his name but haven't had a chance to see any of him yet. Is he a Brett Lee type of express pace or is he more of a Steyn where he can move the ball along with being quick? Curious to know as not enough fast men around in world cricket these days.

Posted by JohannK on (September 3, 2014, 19:24 GMT)

This game will be played on a wearing strip that has been used before in this tournament (and trampled on during games when it was not used). This tournament, except for the fact that it features Aus, is misguided preparation ahead of the WC. We should be playing on fast, bouncy tracks, where we can test the metal of the batsmen against frightening fast bowling (Johnson, Stark), not spin, and where we can see if our fast bowlers have what it takes to contain good batsmen on good wickets. This tournament is putting dents into the confidence of those who should by now be beaming with it (quite possibly Miller, Parnell) and it is giving false confidence to players who tend to be good on sub-continent wickets, but weak on fast, bouncy tracks. And I fear it will create the wrong picture in the selectors' minds about who should go to Aus and who is the best XI to put on the park. Where is De Lange? He can be lethal in Aus, but he is not even in the squad.

Posted by proteasfire on (September 3, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

@xtrafalgarx - His last 10 ODIs read 56*, 36*, 4, 4*, DNB, 45, 13*, DNB, 0, 3. We could see he has scored 161 runs with 4 not outs and 2 DNBs with an average of 40.25. Thats decent average for a #6 batsman who doesn't get that many opportunities. No doubts Miller need to produce more substantial innings in that position, but he needs some more time to prove is the point. Surely he will come out with his flying colors. A player with such technique and skill would have been better used if in Australia or India. Only SA talks about ditching such a quality player without knowing how to use his talent and get best output out of a gifted player. Lance Klusener rightly said "Miller wasted at #6". He is his domestic coach and knows the importance of Miller and the value he adds to the dolphins squad.

Posted by BellCurve on (September 3, 2014, 18:43 GMT)

SA is blessed with possibly the greatest ODI wk-batsman of all time. (I know, it's early days, but time, I believe, will prove me right.) Yet the selectors cannot get the crucial No7 spot right. We need someone that can bat really well at No7. Australia has Haddin. We have McLaren. There must be someone who can bat quite a lot and bowl quite a bit that we can slot in at No7. Maybe Wiese or Morris or, thinking out of the box, Van Zyl. The restbof the line- up is obvious. Big Vern, Steyn, Morkel and Tahir. Now that is a team with balance.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (September 3, 2014, 17:05 GMT)

@Satesh_krishan: That may be true, but over 50 ODI matches, surely he has had some opportunities during that time. His first class record would be better if we was that kind of player who needed time, but if he isn't that or a player who can go from ball one, then what is he?

If your coming in at 6 and 7 you should be able to get lots of 20 and 30 not outs and should have a good average because of that. It's a good position to bat. Michael Hussey said he enjoyed because you have nothing to lose, go hard and be a hero and if you get out it's not your fault because the top order should have done better!

Posted by and1son on (September 3, 2014, 17:02 GMT)

@Troyd Mutumbami is out of the tourney with a broken arm. That's weird as McLaren for SA is also out of the tournament now with a broken hand from that Johnson delivery (should have had an arm guard).

@ZCFOutkast the comparison was not between Waller and Mutizwa. But if we go there, Mutizwa's average has been in constant decline in both first class (40 from 43) and list a (35 to 29). His average is only so high because of when Zim used to play Kenya a lot. Also I heard he has a bad attitude problem. Waller has not been great too but he can bowl and got Maxwell out twice in two balls last match. So I don't see how Mutizwa is better.

Also Vusi has failed consistently so that is why they are trying out Mawoyo. I think they should keep him for the final game then send both of them on the Zim A tour to Bangladesh. Whoever performs better gets another shot. If Kasuza was available, I would be trying him before Mawoyo and Vusi.

Posted by proteasfire on (September 3, 2014, 16:27 GMT)

It is true that Miller hasnt performed upto the expected level, but he didnt get enough chances either. In a T20 game he always comes to crease in over #17 or #18 and expected to score. Same is the case in ODIs too. He hardly gets chances to bat long. He aint a slogger, he is pure class and needs more time at the crease to showcase his wide range of shots and great talent. Miller can be promoted to #5. JP Duminy performs only when everyone performs, he is not an impact player. But Miller is an impact player. If he scores well, SA wins thats it period. He is someone who can win games single handedly. With more chances given Miller is likely to shine. His class is too good to be ditched. SA should realize this and create more opportunities for Miller to bat long. Players like Behardien, Albie are not that good when compared with Miller. He is going through a tough phase but will soon overcome and show his class like Faf did after being dropped and brought back into the ODI side!!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (September 3, 2014, 15:42 GMT)

Berhardien, along with Colin Ingram, Wayne Parnell and soon to be David Miller, make up the list of cricketers who promised a lot but after many, many chances, just couldn't deliver at international level. It's very simple. Go back to FC domestic cricket and get those averages up. Just like with Phil Hughes, he forced his way back in thru performances.

We (SA) seem content to pick people out of sympathy or hope that one day they will just bloom. Maybe it's a positional thing like with Faff? Problem with this argument is that Miller has been tried in all top 6 positions already. I know Rilee hasn't had the greatest start but neither did sachin. Roussow and stiann van zyl have ground it out for YEARS in first class domestic cricket, consistently topping the tables and batting averages well over Miller's. When will we start selecting on successful performances rather than just hope?

Posted by ZkAneela on (September 3, 2014, 15:15 GMT)

I agree with NixNixon for WC 11 except the exclusion of De Lange..He must be included in WC squad as I rate him as a game changer on bouncy tracks of Aus and NZ.. For the match against Zimbabwe,agree 100% with TommyTuckerSaffa on batting wise but not on bowling coz Shezi is not going to make huge difference on this dead track.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (September 3, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

@and1son, Mutizwa a far much better than Malcolm Waller, who happens to be in the side. In fact if Brendan Taylor doesn;t come right soon, while Mutumbami is injured and Chakabva continues to be unfit for LOIs, Mutizwa may very well be Taylor's direct substitute.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (September 3, 2014, 14:37 GMT)

I don't understand why the preview article is implying Zimbabwe should be 'content' on competing with South Africa when in fact Zimbabwe have already been competing and South Africa working for their wins against Zimbabwe. Had Zimbabwe batting clicked in the ODIs against South Africa then they would've beaten them as well at least in one of those matches. Let's not forget Zimbabwe fought well in that one-off test match. South Africa have been unimpressive in this entire tour bar 1 or 2 games.

Best of luck to Zimbabwe!!! Cricket needs a strong Zimbabwe!!!

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (September 3, 2014, 13:47 GMT)

@NixonNixon, nice to see someone finally ditch Miller .... for Farhaan!!! Albie, Steyn, Morkel, Mclaren, Tahir? With that Proteas will be fortunate if they ever chase anything less than 300!

It makes no sense that Vusi Sibanda is not part of this XI. Absolutely shocking! How on earth do Tino Mawoyo & Malcolm Waller stay in the side ahead of him? Both have been fortunate to get past 1 run each time they've gone out to bat. You can't wait for the bowling to fail in order to realise that carrying both of them is shooting yourself in the leg. Raza hasn't kicked on for quite sometime now, further signs that he should maybe be helping Elton Chigumbura to hit balls out of the park later in the innings. No point forcing matters. As much as the senior guys must be protected form the new ball, it doesn't help if those sacrificed are not putting a dent on the scoresheet often enough.

Mawoyo, Vusi, Hami, Taylor(wk), Williams, Raza, Chigumbura(c), Mushangwe/Mutombodzi, Utseya, Nyumbu, Chatara

Posted by and1son on (September 3, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

Going into the series, the Zim mindset would have been just to be competitive. A win was great and two wins would be unimaginable and might cause the world to end. But I'm ready for the eventual demise so why not... Go Zim!!!

In terms of SA line up the middle order is fragile. The weird thing is that even though Eng are rubbish, they have one of the better middle order in ODI cricket as their top order always fails. It's always Root, Morgan etc.

I think SA should swap Miller for Russouw (at 4 maybe) if they rate him so highly because it's unlikely Zim will rout them even of they win. Miller seems to be a finisher than someone who can build a score. And it could be funny if Russouw gets out to another first ball duck for the hat-trick.

@NixNixon Berhadien has never done anything internationally. He ranks in the same class as Khawaja(Aus) and Mutizwa(Zim) with good numbers but never anything internationally

Posted by NixNixon on (September 3, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

As Surly Cynic mentioned, our biggest problem is that all our bowlers are bunnies. And the fact that Mclaren as an all-rounder can not bat. McLaren for me is more a bowler in this team. I would go as far as replacing Morkel with McLaren if it comes down to that.

1.Amla, 2.De Kock, 3.Faf, 4.AB, 5.JP, 6.Behardien, 7.(Albie or Miller), 8.Philander, 9.Mclaren, 10.Steyn, 11.Tahir

Philander bats better than McLaren

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (September 3, 2014, 13:22 GMT)

Team for Zimbabwe based on the current squad.

1.de Kock 2. Amla 3. Faff 4. AB 5.Roussow 6. JP 7. Mclaren 8.Steyn 9.Shezi 10.Phisango 11.Tahir

Rillee Rousouw in for the under performing IPL flat tracker - Miller. Shezi in for the ever frustrating M.Morkel. For some reason David Wiese was left at home. I can only presume because they selected the perennial flop Parnell.

Posted by android_user on (September 3, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

6th odi south Africa Will win.all drama Will end.

Posted by Romanticstud on (September 3, 2014, 13:08 GMT)

I reckon South Africa have lost the plot ...

1) De Kock (wk) 2) Amla 3) Du Plessis 4) De Villiers (c) 5) McLaren 6) Parnell 7) Steyn 8) Philander 9) Phangiso 10) Morkel 11) Tahir

The line-up gives you Steyn, Morkel, Philander, McLaren, Parnell, Phangiso and Tahir to bowl 50/20 overs.

De Kock and Amla have made a few starts. Du Plessis has formed a good base especially against Australia. De Villiers will captain from 4. The middle order is Mclaren, Parnell, Steyn and Philander. It will give them all a bit of a promotion up the order, but also the variation in the team makes for them to share the bowling/allrounder slot with Morkel, Phangiso and Tahir forming the tail.

I think this combination without the likes of Duminy, Wiese among others will help rigidity in the side and also give the bowlers a more stable look than relying on part-timers.

Posted by Troyd on (September 3, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

Mutumabani in : preferrably at No2 for Mawoyo, if not then in for Waller. Mawoyo is not an ODI player and probably never will be. Waller is good for a few overs and actually his innings against Aus was better than it might have seen, but still not convinced he is back to his best. Mutumbani was playing well before he was a experimented on, but I also feel the experiment was cut short : he might still be our answer to the opening spot.

Miller for SA might be feeling he's getting close to 'last chance in ODIs'.

Posted by NixNixon on (September 3, 2014, 12:48 GMT)

1. Amla 2.De Kock 3. Du Plessis 4. De Villiers 5. Duminy 6. Behardien (meduim pacers 4-5 overs per game) 7. A Morkel (4-5 overs per game) 8. McLaren 9. Steyn 10 Morkel 11. Tahir

Posted by dunger.bob on (September 3, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Zimbabwe has surprised and impressed me so far. They know what works for them and they do it well. It's yet to be seen how they fare when they travel but there doesn't seem to be any lack of enthusiasm and there's quite a bit of skill in their ranks. .. My heart says Zimbabwe but my head says South Africa. The Saffers won't be in any mood to let this one slip. They want another crack at us.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (September 3, 2014, 11:57 GMT)

McLaren at 7 and Steyn at 8. Bunnies at 9,10,11. Crazy. More dependent on the top 6 than any other team in world cricket and if they don't fire, even if it is only one game in 10, there is no chance of recovery.

The reality is SA need an allrounder at 7 who can share the 5th bowler overs with Duminy, someone like Wiese. Then McLaren at 8.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2014, 11:43 GMT)

tomorrow is another upset to big team bcoz now zimbabwe are playing do or die game. but lastly SA wins the match

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