Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen struck a career-best 59 to lead the Proteas to a four-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the third ODI in Paarl.
Choosing to bat first, Zimbabwe made a horrible start to their innings as opener Solomon Mire was clean bowled by Imran Tahir for seven runs in the sixth over.
Craig Ervine failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught behind off the bowling of Dale Steyn for a duck.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza managed to make 28 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada.
Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams stabilised the innings with a 73-run partnership before Taylor was stumped by Klaasen off the bowling of Tahir for 40.
During his innings, Taylor became just the third Zimbabwean player to score 6,000 ODI runs after Andy and Grant Flower.
Peter Moor mustered 10 runs before becoming Steyn’s second victim, while Williams went on to score 69, which came off 79 balls and included 10 boundaries, before he was caught and bowled by Rabada.
Zimbabwe began to lose wickets at regular intervals once Williams departed, but Donald Tiripano’s 29 towards the end of the innings helped the tourists reach 228 before they were bowled out.
Steyn and Rabada picked up three wickets apiece, while Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo chipped in with two wickets each.
Chasing 229 to win, South Africa got off to an excellent start as openers Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks amassed a 75-run partnership before Markram was given out lbw off the bowling of Williams for 42.
Captain Faf du Plessis, who was returning from a shoulder injury, scored 26 runs before being dismissed by Brandon Mavuta.
JP Duminy fell shortly after for one run, while Hendrick ended up making an 82-ball 66, which included five boundaries and a six.
Klaasen and Khaya Zondo steadied things with a 66-run partnership, during which Klaasen surpassed his half-century, before he was sent packing by Kyle Jarvis for 59, which came off 67 deliveries and included six boundaries and a six.
Even though Phehlukwayo was on his way back to the pavilion not long after, South Africa still reached their target with 25 balls to spare.
Tiripano was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Mavuta, Williams, Jarvis and Tendai Chatara claimed one wicket each.
Masakadza was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Just not good enough across all three games. Much work needs to be done. The batting wicket was beautiful today. So I thought we had to put a few more on the board. Needed about 50 or 60 more to make a game out of it. T20s are a different format, and we’re a bit stronger there.”
Du Plessis was pleased to have won the series 3-0, and said: “The bowling was really good. We managed to get wickets through the series. Conditions for batting were tough in the first two games, but today we batted well. We would’ve wanted to close the game down a bit more convincingly, and those are good signs.
“We are looking ahead and trying to give everyone a good and fair run with the team. I think we’ve done well with that. Australia is out next ODI tour after that, so the 15-16 boys will look forward to that. The T20s should be exciting. I haven’t played much cricket, so hopefully I can unleash some big ones.”
Klaasen was named Man of the Match, and said: “The team played fantastically. Want to thank Boucher for letting me bat at No. 4 at Titans. Fantastic wicket. Enjoyed batting here. Paarl has been fantastic, even from my amateur days. Would’ve wanted to be a bit more technical, but I can’t complain.”