Zimbabwe v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Bulawayo August 21, 2014

South Africa complete comfortable clean sweep

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South Africa 171 for 3 (de Kock 84) beat Zimbabwe 165 (Chigumbura 90, de Lange 3-31) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A trio of changes to both teams and a change of approach which saw Zimbabwe bat first brought no change in proceedings as South Africa swept their eighth three-match series against Zimbabwe. Even without their regular ODI captain AB de Villiers, who was rested for this match, two debutants in their XI and being a batsman short, South Africa dominated a Zimbabwean team that were without their senior-most batsman Brendan Taylor, who was dropped along with Brian Vitori and Neville Madziva.

Taylor's axing came just two games after he was relieved of the limited-overs captaincy and after he managed just 20 runs in the two matches before this one. His long-standing reputation as the pivot around which the middle-order functions earned him no rope but his absence was notable as Zimbabwe suffered another collapse. Five wickets fell for 15 runs a six-over period to undo the recovery Sikandar Raza and Elton Chigumbura fashioned following another stuttering start.

With an additional seamer in their XI, South Africa posed even more of a threat than usual and Zimbabwe were silenced from the start. Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange added another item to the things they have in common after both took seven wickets on Test debut, when they both claimed wickets in their first over of this match. Abbott had Hamilton Masakadza out lbw when he beat his inside-edge with a full delivery and de Lange, making his return after 30 months out of the international game, had Richmond Mutumbami caught at second slip with his first ball.

Chigumbura's was promoted to Taylor's No. 4 position but it was Sikandar Raza Butt, not the new captain, who calmed the early nerves. Butt was confident against the both the short and the full ball and struck seven boundaries which suggested he could single-handedly haul Zimbabwe out of trouble. He sent Abbott through midwicket, smoked de Lange through the covers and took three fours off Ryan McLaren first over but then threw it away.

Faf du Plessis stationed a man at deep square leg for the pull and Raza played one straight into his hands, leaving Chigumbura to steer the innings from the 11th over. Sean Williams was in even earlier than he has been in the two matches so far but did not produce this time. He hung around with Chigumbura for 11.2 overs in which Parnell and rookie Mthokozisi Shezi squeezed them with changes of pace, and was bowled when trying to sweep Aaron Phangiso.

The loss of Williams forced Chigumbura to become even more quiet, an approach Malcolm Waller mirrored so well his presence barely registered on the radar. Waller scratched around until he was caught behind off the glove off de Lange. The next four wickets fell swiftly as Abbott claimed a second, Parnell took two in two and Shezi got first international scalp when Tafadzwa Kamungozi was given out lbw even though the ball pitched outside leg stump.

Amid the carnage, Chigumbura had crawled to 48 and as soon as the Powerplay began, he converted that. He whipped a Parnell yorker through midwicket to reach his half-century off 102 balls, and then cut loose.

McLaren's slower bouncer took the most punishment and Chigumbura plundered two fours and then two sixes in consecutive overs. Chigumbura scored 40 off 20 balls to reach his highest ODI score and frustrate South Africa's bowlers at the end but his contribution was never going to be enough to force a favourable result for Zimbabwe.

A sliver of hope came when Rilee Rossouw was run-out in the first over thanks to his own urgency to get off the mark and Waller's direct hit, but South Africa's line-up had their best to come. Quinton de Kock made himself at home in a senior role and scored briskly while du Plessis played with more freedom than he has all series.

Before 10 overs were up, South Africa had already cut the target to less than 100. The second-wicket stand was worth 73 when du Plessis was bowled through the gate by Sean Williams but de Kock seemed certain to take South Africa to the close. He brought his second half-century of the series with a chip over mid-off and his aggression after that took him within touching distance of a century. After sending Tinashe Panyangara over long-off for six, de Kock tried to do it again but misplaced it to deep midwicket to leave JP Duminy to finish it off.

South Africa won inside 28 overs and will enter the triangular series, which also involves Australia, brimming with confidence. Zimbabwe will head there in the opposite frame of mind.They remain starved of success and now have created more questions for themselves to answer ahead of duels with two of the most intimidating outfits around.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bongz77 on August 22, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @GreatestGame. Im not the biggest fan of the ICC myself but maybe i can help explain the rankings and its points.

    The way the rankings system works in Cricket, Rugby and Football as far as i am aware is that they reward the under dog more than the top ranked team. Its the way they calculate the points, they expect SA to beat Zim (convincingly too) hence little change in the points. Had Zim won the series, believe me they would have gained a tremendous amount of points.

    A good example is when the Aussies beat us in a teat series at home while they were ranked 3rd or 4th and we were 1st. Had we won that series we would have stretched our lead by one or two points. Another example is how the Springboks remain 2nd in world rugby because they beat everybody but the team ranked above them

  • Furyss on August 22, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    its funny to say but zimbabweans have rested their more key players than their african counterparts so sa shouldnt get carried away as zim will surely taste victory against them in tri-series

  • proteasfire on August 22, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Wonderful victory for South Africa though its an easy series to take. Quinton DeKock's been exceptional again. He's becoming more reliable at the top for SA. SA have excellent blend of attack vs defence at the top six. Quinton, AB and Miller are attacking. Amla can play both ways. Faf and JP anchoring more often. This is best batting lineup SA can have for next year's world cup. Upcoming tri-series is a lot more challenge than the bilateral and its a great challenge for youngsters like Roussow, DeKock and Miller to express with bat. SA should add De Lange to the squad. With green top wickets in Aus and NZ he surely will be a threat for the opposition with his pace. Steyn, Morkel and De Lange form excellent trio of pace bowling for SA. If Miller gets more chances and find consistency like in IPL there is no way anyone can beat this SA team. Go Proteas Go!! Congrats on the whitewash again!!

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 22, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Upcoming triseries for all its called is but a 3 match face off between the 2 best powerhouse teams Aus,SA.Zim are not expected to do much but make up the nos.Aussies have got a young team,most of them fighting for a spot.Good chance to prove selves v SA.

  • Greatest_Game on August 21, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Its a funny world, this. Yesterday, SA were ranked number three in the ICC ODI Championship, with 111 points, 1 point behind India on 112 points. Sri Lanka also has 111 points.

    Today, after thoroughly thrashing Zimbabwe and whitewashing them in the ODI series, SA are still ranked number three in the ICC ODI Championship, with 111 points, 1 point behind India on 112 points. Sri Lanka still also has 111 points.

    It is difficult to comprehend, but yes, SA can win, whitewash & everything else, but somehow their points just don't increase. I wonder if it is a "big 3" thing, like when Aus, by some mysterious fraction, became no.1 in tests after the "rankings update?"

    The Bermuda Triangle holds less mysteries than the ICC Rankings.

    On a similar note, Quinton de Kock has today broken into the top 10 ICC ranked batsmen, and is now ranked at number 8. Hashim Amla has sneaked past AB, & is ranked 1st, and AB is now ranked 2nd. SA is the only country with 3 batsmen ranked in the top 10.

  • Greatest_Game on August 21, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    TommytuckerSaffa writes we will see if Faff's sub par ODI record in over 50 games was just down to plain old bad luck."

    … or down to being shunted around the order, batting late & having to go hard for runs & sacrifice his wicket, or the other maladies that affected the ODI team since Kirsten & de Villiers started their "floating batting order" & other stupidities … like dropping Kallis in 2011 when he was in GREAT form.

    In the 2 years before Smith resigned the ODI captaincy the Win/Loss ratio was over 2:1? After Kirsten & AB took over it plummeted to BELOW 1:1. After today it is 1.4:1. Only in the last year has the team stabilized.

    Faf batted mostly at 5, 6 or 7. Since batting at 3, on 6 Nov, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, in 6 matches he has averaged 44.16, with 1 low score of 10.

    Considering how Kirsten & AB mangled the ODI team, we are only now seeing how ALL the players truly shape up. Hopefully we play enough ODIs in the WC preparation to see if Faf's ave at no.3 is a blip, or a reality

  • Amol_Gh on August 21, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Now that this series is over with SA now on 4-match unbeaten streak and with the World-Cup looming ahead, I hope SA get inspired from their unbeaten ODI record streak in 2005 and try to attempt for something similar here. That way every player in the playing-11 will understand his rightful duty and get set to it resulting in a better morale while entering the World-Cup. Beating AUS regularly in the coming series would be good to set fear in the opponents' hearts for now.

  • Arif_Khan_Bangladeshi on August 21, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Despite the series loss, it is good to see Zimbabwe take on South Africa in a series. The experience will do wonders for the Zimbabwe players, most of whom don't have the proper resources, structure or support system in place to truly succeed. If Cricket is to thrive in Zimbabwe once again, a lot of support is needed from the ICC. All the best to Zimbabwe and their fans.

  • ZkAneela on August 21, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    Now that is what I mention in my comment when De Lange was picked in the squad.He is fast,can take wickets and have the ability to disturb batsmen at any surface..Even on this dead wicket,He makes Zim batsmen to jump around.My point is that He will be very handful on bouncy tracks of AUS and NZ if selected in WC squad.One thing which I am 100% sure that if He does not take wickets,He will make other bowlers to take wickets.And BTW Steyn,Morkel,De Lange in attack,I believe every SA fan will be delighted...

  • Greatest_Game on August 21, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    @ SurlyCynic. QdK is impressing me more & more. You can see him maturing from game to game, gaining in confidence, willing to play attacking cricket without jeopardising the team's position. He seems to have found a great balance between instinct & good strategy. The more games he gets in before the WC, especially against strong bowling, the better chance we will have of mounting an aggressive campaign.

    I think he has brought to SA a greater confidence in playing attacking cricket. As Faf was giving a "run-rate lesson" to his detractors today, QdK was happy playing second fiddle, but when it was his turn he really put his foot on the pedal.

    We know SA are the best defensive team. A they develope their attacking game, they can only get stronger. Building incisive attacking skills on a rock solid defensive foundation will keep the Proteas at the top for a long time. A lot of that starts with QdK.

    Funny how after all that fuss he turned out to be a lot better than Thami after all!

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