Gibbs set to return as South Africa eye series win
After strolling to a five-wicket win in the first one-dayer at Bulawayo, South Africa are expected to go in with a full strength side as Herschelle Gibbs is set to return from injury and bolster the batting. The action in the short three-match series shifts to the Harare Sports Club for the weekend double-header.
Gibbs missed the first match due to a lower leg injury and is expected to bat in the middle order. JP Duminy, who missed out after scoring 3 in South Africa's chase at Bulawayo, is likely to make way for Gibbs. Gulam Bodi, who impressed with a debut half century, will retain his place, as will opener Loots Bosman, despite falling for his fifth consecutive score under five. The plan would be to try out all the players set to take an active part in the Twenty20 World Championship next month.
The bowling attack is likely to be retained, despite letting Zimbabwe off the hook at Bulawayo. Zimbabwe, in a hole at 72 for 7 by the 25th over, looked in danger of being wrapped up under 100 before the lower order stepped up and set a fine example for the rest. A 115-run stand between Elton Chigumbura and Gary Brent lifted them to 206, giving the visitors a little to think about. Allrounder Johan van der Wath is likely to keep his place despite leaking 59 off nine overs in his one-day comeback. Dale Steyn, not in the squad for the Twenty20 championship, may have to sit out another game, depending on how the team management decides to rotate the bowlers over the weekend.
The Zimbabweans on the other hand are contemplating a few changes in the bowling attack, going in with just one specialist spinner. Legspinner Timycen Maruma, who went wicketless in his debut ODI, is likely to be dropped, leaving the lone spin duties to Prosper Utseya. Tawanda Mupariwa is set to join Brent and Christopher Mpofu in the seam attack.
The top order will continue to worry the home side, with players like Vusi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu failing to convert their starts. Chamu Chibhabha, after a poor run in the World Cup, is expected to return in place of either Hamilton Masakadza or Stuart Matsikenyeri. The running between the wickets too left a lot to be desired at Bulawayo, with five dismissals coming by way of run-outs.