Zimbabwe A v South Africa A, Bulawayo, 4th day August 21, 2004

Nkala heroics secure the draw

Wisden Cricinfo staff

South Africa A 272 and 309 for 5 dec (McKenzie 126*) drew with Zimbabwe A 278 (Ebrahim 97*) and 290 for 8 (Nkala 65*, de Bruyn 4-52)

An eighth-wicket stand of 123 between Mluleki Nkala and Tinashe Panyangara carried Zimbabwe A to the brink of an astonishing victory over South Africa A, but in the end they were forced to settle for the draw on the final day of their four-day match at Bulawayo.

Chasing 304 for the win, after Neil McKenzie's unbeaten 126 had allowed South Africa to declare before lunch, Zimbabwe were given a solid platform by Brendon Taylor and Vusi Sibanda, who contributed a pair of 59s in their second-wicket stand of 105. But both men fell in quick succession to Zander de Bruyn, who also plucked out the experienced Test pairing of Dion Ebrahim and Tatenda Taibu in a hostile spell.

The slump continued as Mark Vermeulen was run out for 14, and when Alester Maregwede was trapped lbw for 5, Zimbabwe were 166 for 7 and staring at a heavy defeat. But nobody told Nkala and Panyangara, who set about the bowling with measured hostility. Suddenly, it was South Africa who were wearing the frowns, as the requirement dropped down to double figures.

But with time running out, Alfonso Thomas bowled Panyangara for 44, and the match was back in South Africa's hands. Doug Hondo, however, blocked out seven deliveries, to stave off a last-minute defeat.