South Africa National Academy v Zimbabweans, Pretoria July 27, 2006

Taylor ends tour on a high

A special correspondent

Zimbabweans 154 for 4 (Taylor 44*, Matskikenyeri 42) v South Africa National Academy 153 (de Kock 35, Matsikenyeri 3-18, Rinke 3-28) by six wickets

The Zimbabweans completed their short tour of South Africa with a six-wicket win over the South Africa National Academy at Pretoria's High Performance Centre on Wednesday.

Following their one-run win of the same opponents on Monday, the Zimbabweans bowled out the Academy for 153 runs inside 44.2 overs on a moist track that was not particularly batsman-friendly. Missing Hamilton Masakadza, who had gone back to university in the Eastern Province, the Zimbabweans were led by offspinner Stuart Matsikenyeri (3 for 18) and medium pacer Piet Rinke (3 for 28).

Blessing Mahwire took Zimbabwe's first wicket in the sixth over when skipper Prosper Utseya held on to a backtracking catch on the boundary to remove opener Heino Kuhn for 13 runs. Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor produced the first of his four stumpings for Zimbabwe in the 16th as Blake Snijman missed a delivery from Rinke.

Rinke put the Zimbabweans on top two balls later, bowling opener Riel de Kock for 35. Unsettled by the loss of the wickets, the Academy did not add a run for two overs until Utseya struck for the first time when Dominic Tello was stumped by Taylor. The Utseya/Taylor combination brought the fifth wicket for Zimbabwe, that of allrounder Robert Frylink for 1. Dean Elgar (31), who scored a century for the Academy on Monday, had looked to stabilise the innings but fell in after 37.4 overs when Taylor stumped him off Matsikenyeri. Leggie Ryan Higgins had Keagan Afrika caught by Mahwire at deep extra cover, and Matsikenyeri and Rinke cleaned up the tail.

The Zimbabweans started sluggishly, reaching 41 for 3 Chamu Chibhabha (17) was caught and bowled by Craig Alexander, Rinke was caught at first slip by Abongile Sodumo for 4 and Tino Mawoyo, batting for the first time on the tour, soon followed, caught at mid-off by Hillroy Paulse, off Frylink for 12.

Taylor kept the scoreboard ticking over and got good support from Matskikenyeri before Matskikenyeri fell for 42, edging left-arm spinner De Kock to Snijman in the gully.

Taylor, who was unbeaten with a top score of 44, batted on with Sibanda to win the game for the Zimbabwe. They targeted offspinner Coertzee, both hitting a six and a four each in the 38th over and completing the win in the 41st over.

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