Zimbabwe v South Africa, 1st ODI, Bulawayo August 17, 2014

De Villiers invents the switch-scoop, almost

Plays of the day from the first ODI between Zimbabwe and South Africa in Bulawayo

Turn of the day

The Bulawayo pitch was described as being for the bowlers what Lake Kariba can sometimes be for fishermen. With still waters, all there is to be done is sink the line and wait for something to happen rather than make it happen. That appeared to be the case when the seamers were in operation in the opening passages of play, but there were ripples on the surfaces when the spinners came on. With the first ball of Sean Williams' second over, there was turn and bounce which surprised Hashim Amla and was taken by Richmond Mutumbami at shoulder height. There would be bite for the tweakers, but Zimbabwe struggled to make use of it.

Drop of the day

Amla has made teams pay for putting him down in the past and Zimbabwe became the latest to learn that lesson. After Amla had played watchfully to get to 62, he played inside the line of a Shingi Masakadza delivery. He tried to drive it straight down the ground, but only managed a leading edge. Shingi stretched to his right to reach across the pitch and grasped desperately, but he could not hold on. Amla went on to almost double that score.

AB invention of the day

The AB de Villiers textbook of stroke-making includes gems like the paddle sweep and reverse scoop. Today, he showed what happens when you put those two together. Off the sixth ball he faced, de Villiers adopted a switch-hit position and combined the half-swept, half-scooped the ball over his right shoulder. Had the shot come off properly it would have sailed over third man but de Villiers only managed a leading edge for two runs. Probably one to work on in the future.

Pony-tail pull of the day

Usually this headline applies to schoolgirls on a playground, but there was a place for it in cricket when Wayne Parnell claimed his first wicket. The left-armer struck in his second over when Vusi Sibanda followed one that just moved away and edged to Quinton de Kock. The celebrations included David Miller tugging at the Parny-tail in jubilation of South Africa's first wicket.

Missed Milestone of the day

Hamilton Masakadza has made such improvement on his use of the reverse-sweep that it was also the shot he used to bring up his fifty. Or so he thought. When Hamilton placed a JP Duminy delivery that pitched just outside off into the gap at short third man for four, Masakadza was on 45, but the scoreboard operator though he had one more. The numbers "5," and "0," were placed next to his name. When he saw it, Hamilton hesitantly raised his bat in acknowledgement but the expression on his face said he knew he needed one more. Luckily for him, he drove the next ball to long-on to ensure he had secured his third consecutive half-century in this format. For real.

Disappointment of the day

Williams has not had too many opportunities to convert his fifties into something more, but in this match, he had a golden chance to produce a hundred. He reached his half-century with more than 20 overs left to go in an innings in which Zimbabwe still needed 167 runs and he was facing South Africa's weakest link. Imran Tahir, who had bowled poorly throughout the innings, sent down a short, wide ball that asked to be cut past point and that was what Williams tried to do. However, he cut it straight to du Plessis instead. Williams knew his placement was completely wrong and after the catch was taken, stood in his crease for what seemed like minutes, blinking in disbelief and head moving backwards in despair. He had thrown it away and he knew it.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gibbs.175 on August 18, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Come on SA....this is very good preparations for WC 2015....in the absence of Dale and Morkell ...Kyle can handle the attack very well....and God blessed D.kock is perfect opener for World Cup and JP,AB ,miller is good middle order....so good luck for these changes....,.

  • SripriyaReddy on August 17, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    "The AB De Villiers textbook of stoke-making" Haha .. This guy is a True Legend! Just like all Firdose Moonda articles, another fabulous one. (Y)

  • gibbs.175 on August 18, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Come on SA....this is very good preparations for WC 2015....in the absence of Dale and Morkell ...Kyle can handle the attack very well....and God blessed D.kock is perfect opener for World Cup and JP,AB ,miller is good middle order....so good luck for these changes....,.

  • SripriyaReddy on August 17, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    "The AB De Villiers textbook of stoke-making" Haha .. This guy is a True Legend! Just like all Firdose Moonda articles, another fabulous one. (Y)

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  • SripriyaReddy on August 17, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    "The AB De Villiers textbook of stoke-making" Haha .. This guy is a True Legend! Just like all Firdose Moonda articles, another fabulous one. (Y)

  • gibbs.175 on August 18, 2014, 5:59 GMT

    Come on SA....this is very good preparations for WC 2015....in the absence of Dale and Morkell ...Kyle can handle the attack very well....and God blessed D.kock is perfect opener for World Cup and JP,AB ,miller is good middle order....so good luck for these changes....,.