Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa pace bowler Lungi Ngidi took three wickets as the Proteas cruised to a five-wicket win over Zimbabwe in a low-scoring affair in Kimberley.
Being put in to bat first, Zimbabwe lost opener Solomon Mire early on as he was caught by Reeza Hendricks at second slip off the bowling of Ngidi for a duck.
Craig Ervine only made seven runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Willem Mulder.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza managed to score 25 before he was caught by Hendricks off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo.
Phehlukwayo struck again in his next over as he trapped Sean Williams lbw for four runs.
Brendan Taylor failed to have an impact as well as he was caught by Hendricks at second slip off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada.
Peter Moor fell shortly after, while Wellington Masakadza was given out lbw off the bowling of Tahir for 15.
Debutant Brandon Mavuta suffered the same fate as Wellington Masakadza, while Kyle Jarvis was clean bowled by Ngidi for eight runs.
Zimbabwe ended up being bowled out for 117, which was their lowest score against South Africa in ODI cricket, when Elton Chigumbura was dismissed by Ngidi for 27.
Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Rabada, Tahir and Phehlukwayo snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Mulder, he chipped in with one wicket.
Chasing 118 to win, South Africa opener Dean Elgar fell early as he was caught by Moor at third man off the bowling of Tendai Chatara for two runs.
Hendricks only scored five runs before he was cleaned up by Wellington Masakadza.
Aiden Markram, who opened the batting with Elgar, scored 27 before he was caught by Chigumbura at mid-off off the bowling of Chatara.
Debutant Christiaan Jonker was the next to go as he was sent packing by Mavuta for six runs.
Heinrich Klaasen and stand-in captain JP Duminy steadied things with a 38-run partnership, the majority of which was dominated by Klaasen.
Klaasen ended up making a 44-ball 44, which included five boundaries and two sixes, before he was removed by Wellington Masakadza.
Despite losing Klaasen, Duminy and Mulder mopped up the remaining runs to lead South Africa to victory with 143 balls to spare.
Chatara and Wellington Masakadza took two wickets apiece, while Mavuta claimed one.
Hamilton Masakadza was less than impressed with his side’s performance, and said: “We were a bit surprised by the pitch. We felt it would do a bit in the morning but it did more than that. The guys tried to knuckle down but could not. Another 50-60 runs would have been better. The guys started really well with the ball, especially on this pitch. Main thing is to get more runs on the board from here.”
Duminy was pleased to taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, and said: “The pitch definitely did more than we expected, there was always something for the bowlers, even the spinners. It was a tough chase. Touch fuller length was the way to go and try to nick them off, so credit to the bowlers to pull it off. It was quite different from the usual Kimberley wicket. We couldn’t quite execute all our plans, but all in all happy with the win.”
Ngidi was named Man of the Match, and said: “The pitch was a lot spicier than we thought, happy to continue the good form. I’m carrying a lot of confidence from Sri Lanka. Attacking the stumps was also one thing today, the ball was nipping around a bit. We just tried to hit the lengths, the wicket did the rest.
“KG told me at the beginning, ‘You can have the wind, I’ll run into it,’ and I tried to use it as much as I could. After the first ball, I thought it was stronger and had to adjust to it. Very happy, I just want to keep putting my hand up. International cricket is a lovely challenge.”