SA cruise to easy win
25 Feb 2005
By: David Lewis
South Africa comfortably won the first of the three-match series against Zimbabwe today. Batting first, they posted an imposing total of 301 for 7, despite not really looking their best for much of the innings. In reply, Zimbabwe were never in the hunt after losing early wickets. Their eventual total of 136 left the hosts victors by the small margin of 165 runs. As expected, this was an embarrassingly one-sided mismatch that did nothing for either side.
On losing the toss, the South Africans were probably surprised to be invited to bat. However, the inexperienced Zimbabwe attack was unable to maintain any sort of pressure and Smith (50), Bacher (56), Rudolph (50) and Gibbs (40) were all able to help themselves to easy runs before doing the decent thing and giving someone else a go. The best bowler, by some distance, was Utseya who finished with three good wickets for 40 from his 10 overs, including that of Kemp, stumped by a mile before he had reached double figures. That would have disappointed the crowd, who were doubtless looking forward to some characteristic fireworks from him, but instead they were treated to a blistering assault from Boucher, who smashed 49 runs from only 29 deliveries. Subsequent rapid cameos from Prince (20*) and Morkel (16) enabled SA to pass 300. That had actually seemed unlikely at one point, after the tourists' spinners had slowed the innings down, but 70 runs from the last five overs took them well out of reach.
In reality, they were probably safe even before the fireworks from Boucher and co. Even with Hall opening instead of Pollock, SA's attack knew far too much for Zimbabwe and they never got going. Matsikenyeri (25) and Taibu (28) showed some resistance, but no one else reached 20. Hall (3 for 29), Ntini (3 for 42) and Morkel (2 for 23) helped themselves to the easy pickings, and the innings was finished in the 38th over. Boucher was named Man of the Match, which was news to those of us who didn't realise that one had taken place.
301/7 (50 Overs) - Bacher 56, Smith 50, Rudolph 50; Utseya 3/40
136 (37.2 Overs) - Taibu 28, Matsikenyeri 25; Hall 3/29, Ntini 3/42
South Africa Won By 165 Runs
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