South Africa 135 for 4 (Duminy 33*, de Kock 26, Williams 2-25) beat Zimbabwe 132 for 7 (Williams 41, Frylinck 2-20, Paterson 2-22) by six wickets
South Africa sealed a series win in their T20I leg against Zimbabwe with a six-wicket win in the second match at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom. Zimbabwe's Sean Williams top-scored with 41, but South Africa's attack never let the visitors get away from them and Zimbabwe's 132 for 7 wasn't nearly enough to test a South African batting line-up full of seasoned T20 hitters. A 44-run stand between JP Duminy and Heinrich Klaasen put South Africa's chase on course, and a 33-run partnership between Duminy and David Miller saw them home, with Duminy hitting the winning runs in the 16th over and finishing with 33 not out.
Had this been a typical Potchefstroom pitch, South Africa might have completed their chase even sooner, but the ball didn't come on to the bat as expected and Zimbabwe had an early opening when Rassie van der Dussen, opening the batting, chipped a return catch back to Chris Mpofu in the 4th over.
At the other end, de Kock struggled to burst out of the blocks and had tapped his way to 15 from 19 deliveries before he and captain Faf du Plessis pressed the accelerator with 20 runs from Kyle Jarvis' second over - and the last one of the Powerplay. De Kock fell straight afterwards to legspinner Brandon Mavuta, who once again brought energy and inventiveness to his spells.
Mavuta should have had Klaasen caught behind in his next over, but a big deflection off the bat popped out of Brendan Taylor's gloves. Klaasen took advantage of the lapse, hammering sixes over long-on and midwicket, and then taking South Africa's score to 100 with a flick into the leg side in the 12th over.
Duminy marshalled the chase from the other end, driving Williams through cover and slog-sweeping Mavuta over midwicket as whatever pressure Zimbabwe had been able to muster started to ease. With Miller for company, Duminy quickly whittled down the target and pulled Chris Mpofu to the deep square boundary to end the game and seal the series with more than four overs to spare.
South Africa might have been made to sweat a little more over their chase had Zimbabwe been able to squeeze 20 or 30 more runs out of their innings, but they never really got going with the bat. Just three overs in their entire innings went for more than 10: the first when Hamilton Masakadza scooped, slammed and pulled 16 from Lungi Ngidi's second over, the second when Williams slog swept a trio of sixes onto the grass banks as Tabraiz Shamsi bled 24 from his final over, and the third when Mavuta and Tendai Chisoro took 11 in a mad dash through the 20th over.
Between times, tight lines, canny changes of pace and a pitch that didn't quite play as quick as everyone expected tied the visiting batsmen down. Between Masakadza's dismissal - heaving across the line to be bowled by Robbie Frylinck in the fifth over - and Taylor's - missing a slog sweep at Shamsi in the 13th - Zimbabwe managed just one boundary and also lost Tarisai Musakanda for his second duck of the tour.
Frylinck,Andile Phehlukwayo and - initially, at least - Shamsi helped South Africa control the middle of the innings. The two seamers conceded just a single each from their first overs, while Shamsi's figures read 3-0-13-1 before Williams and Moor got hold of his final over.
Dane Paterson, who opened the bowling with Ngidi on his return to international duty, was just as frugal. He also got the odd delivery to keep a touch low off a length, and struck with just such a delivery to get rid of Solomon Mire in his very first over, the batsman pulling at one that didn't get up as high as he was expecting. Paterson returned to the attack to bowl Williams with a similar delivery in the 16th over, stalling Zimbabwe just as they were beginning to pick up momentum once again.
Shrugging off his mauling by Masakadza at the top of the innings, Ngidi then found the edge of Elton Chigumbura's bat and had Peter Moor caught in the deep as Zimbabwe's batting ran out of steam to set a target that was well within South Africa's reach.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town