South Africa clinched the three-match one-day series against Zimbabwe with an easy 148-run victory in the second one-day international at Harare Sports Club.
A good team effort, helped by some rather spineless Zimbabwe batting, gave them a two-nil lead, with the final match to be played tomorrow at the same venue.
It was another hot sunny day, and the pitch looked good enough for South Africa to decide to bat on winning the toss, although one end had noticeably more grass than the other. Situated on the other side of the square from the Test pitches, it yielded a little more pace.
Zimbabwe made two changes to their team from Bulawayo. Captain Heath Streak, who had been nursing a back injury in the first match and paid the price, had to withdraw and Guy Whittall took over the leadership. Streak was replaced by the accurate medium-pacer Gary Brent, while Stuart Carlisle came in for Craig Wishart, who was ill. South Africa retained their winning team.
Travis Friend, bowling from the clubhouse end of the ground into the grassy end of the pitch, extracted some unusual bounce in his first over, but it didn't stop Gary Kirsten and Gibbs taking 12 from it, including a wide that bounced above head-height and a hooked six by Gibbs.
Gary Brent began with impressive movement and accuracy, but Friend broke through with the wicket of Kirsten (10), who was surprised by the extra bounce and got a leading edge that yielded a lobbed catch taken by the bowler himself.
Gibbs and Jacques Kallis were determined to dominate and played some outstanding strokes, although Kallis was missed off a hard chance to third man. He had scored 26 when Paul Strang came on to bowl, and immediately chopped the first ball on to his stumps; South Africa 89 for two in the 17th over.
It took an outstanding catch to remove Gibbs (69 off 77 balls), as Whittall dived full-length at midwicket to hold a low flick off his toes off a delivery from Strang; South Africa were 133 for three.
Brent had retired with the honourable figures of 26 runs in eight overs; no wickets, but his accuracy might well have contributed to those at the other end. Whittall replaced him to bowl with similar economy until Jonty Rhodes got hold of him. He should have had Rhodes caught on the boundary, but it bounced off Alistair Campbell's hands and went for six.
Rhodes added 79 with McKenzie, reaching his fifty off 36 balls, before the latter pulled Grant Flower straight to Mluleki Nkala on the midwicket boundary to depart for 40 in the 38th over. Rhodes (56) soon followed to the same bowler, top-edging a sweep to be superbly caught by the diving Strang at fine leg.
Flower did a fine restraining job, and medium-pacers Brent and Whittall were wisely given the final four overs. Pollock (15) fell to Whittall in similar manner to McKenzie and then Klusener off the final delivery for 34. They finished with 272 for seven wickets.
Zimbabwe sprang a surprise by sending Strang in to open with Campbell, Ebrahim dropping to the middle-order position he finds more natural. Strang, in his unorthodox style, got after the bowling to score 19 out of 38 before edging a catch to the keeper off Pollock.
Masakadza (0) followed almost immediately, run out for the second time against South Africa through inexperience, ambling through for a leg-bye and surprised to be thrown out by Kallis at the bowler's end.
Campbell (21) then drove Kallis to mid-off; Makhaya Ntini, with a disappointing tour to date, caused Andy Flower (2) to chop a ball on to his stumps, and Zimbabwe were on their way out of the match at 50 for four.
Stuart Carlisle and Grant Flower had to undertake a damage limitation exercise. Carlisle (31) played the more confidently of the two, but a brilliant diving catch far to his right by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher removed him in the 25th over and left Zimbabwe needing a miracle at 94 for five.
It did not happen. Mutual hesitation with Ebrahim in the middle of a quick single led to the run-out of Flower for 20, while Whittall (0) tried to hit Claude Henderson against the spin to be caught in the gully. Ebrahim (15) was caught at slip off Henderson as Zimbabwe subsided peacefully for 124 without much fight.