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South Africa score simple win
25 Aug 2007
By: Richard Dickinson

South Africa beat Zimbabwe easily in the second ODI at Harare Sports Club to go 2-0 up in the 3-match series. Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs, renewing their partnership at the top of the order, got some useful batting practice in chasing down an unexpectedly high Zimbabwean score of 247 for 7. Useful scores from Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, Sean Williams and Stuart Matsikenyeri could not, however, trouble the South Africans, who cruised home with almost 11 overs to spare.

Smith had elected to field first on a run-filled pitch, and though Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini bowled good opening spells, with Ntini removing Vusimuzi Sibanda in the 6th courtesy of a beauty which pitched, bounced and straightened, Dale Steyn's introduction in the 13th over released the valve as his opening over cost 10. Morne Morkel impressed again, however, bowling his opening 5 overs for 15 and dismissing Hamilton Masakadza who failed to move his feet, pushed away from his body and gave another simple catch to AB de Villiers behind the sticks. Steyn's poor start did not get much better, as he conceded three sixes to Taibu in his 4th and 5th overs. The second of these resulted in a nasty injury to Loots Bosman, who seemed not to notice he had crossed the boundary and dived straight into the advertising hoardings. He was taken from the ground by stretcher and later diagnosed with mild concussion, potentially threatening his participation in the Twenty20 World Championship.

Vernon Philander could not repeat his tidy performance of the first game, and Albie Morkel struggled too in his first game for the South Africans for over 18 months. Taibu and Taylor took advantage, until Taibu played too early on a pull stroke at Morkel and looped a catch to fine-leg. Williams, however, continued the solid work, taking what little was offered by Morne Morkel and Pollock, and punishing JP Duminy's part-time off-breaks.

Like Taibu, however, Taylor could not kick-on after reaching the 40s, and like Taibu fell to a soft dismissal, cutting a long-hop from Steyn to Gibbs at point. When Pollock was seen-off, Williams and Matsikenyeri began to up the ante. Ntini strangely bowled just 7 overs, conceding 27, while Albie Morkel and Steyn continued to haemorrhage runs. Between the 39th and 47th overs the Zimbabweans scored 58, with a boundary in all bar one of the overs. Steyn partially redeemed himself, dismissing Williams in the 48th and Matsikenyeri in the 50th, while Morne Morkel bowled Elton Chugumbura who had a wild swing and missed by a fair margin.

Smith and Gibbs, however, after a quiet first three overs, showed their class. As usual Smith was strong through the leg-side, but he opened-up through the off in the 13th, hitting Gary Brent, who had bowled so impressively in the first game, for three consecutive boundaries. Gibbs was initially content to play second-fiddle, and after 15 overs was being outscored 56 to 24. Neither Christopher Mpofu or Chugumbura could hold Smith back either, forcing Prosper Utseya to bring on himself and Keith Dabengwa after those 15. The spinners could not put any form of break on, however, and were milked with ease, and sometimes taken to with sweeps and use of the feet.

Smith had surged to 96 at almost a-run-a-ball, with 11 fours and 2 sixes, but finally tried one sweep too many at Utseya and was caught by Taibu. Gibbs almost instantly opened-up with awesome violence, hammering 49 from the 29 deliveries he faced after Smith's dismissal, bringing-up his century in the 33rd over. Eventually he fell to a fine catch from Utseya off Williams' bowling, but Duminy finished the job without difficulty. One match remains on this virtually anonymous tour, at the same ground the following day.

Zimbabwe 247 for 7 (50 overs)
Brendan Taylor 44, Tatenda Taibu 43, Sean Williams 54, Stuart Matsikenyeri 52

South Africa 251 for 2 (39.1 overs)
Graeme Smith 96, Herschelle Gibbs 111

South Africa won by 8 wickets

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