Zimbabwe need to register a comprehensive victory over South Africa to stand a chance of qualifying for the finals against Australia © AFP
By Shiamak Unwalla
Sep 3, 2014
Hosts Zimbabwe take on favourites South Africa at Harare in the sixth and final One-Day International (ODI) of the league stage of the triangular Series. Australia, with their win against South Africa, are the first team to qualify for the finals.
South Africa lost to Australia in their last match, who in turn were defeated by Zimbabwe in the minnow’s historical victory against the No 1 ranked team in the world. However, the Proteas are still well ahead in terms of net run rate, and ought to breeze through to the finals.
Zimbabwe will be keen to put in a good performance, and will look to their spinners — especially Prosper Utseya and John Nyumbu — to restrict South Africa. Utseya’s hat-trick and subsequent five-wicket haul in the two teams’ last encounter nearly guided the hosts to a shock upset; a feat they achieved soon thereafter.
For South Africa, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis have led the batting charts. Each man scored a superb ton against Australia in their huge chase, and du Plessis replicated his effort even in his side’s loss to the same opposition.
The pitch at Harare has supported the spinners, and is expected to do so again in this match. South Africa might be tempted to include both Aaron Phangiso and Imran Tahir along with the part-time spin of JP Duminy and du Plessis. Nyumbu, Utseya, Sean Williams and Malcolm Waller will perform the role for Zimbabwe.
Overall, South Africa are the clear favourites to win the match and set up a title clash against Australia, but Zimbabwe have shown that they should not be underestimated, and with momentum on their side, might well spring a surprise or two. However, they need to beat the Proteas by a huge margin to stand a chance of qualifying.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Dale Steyn, Aaron Phangiso, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Mthokozisi Shezi, Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Rilee Rossouw
Zimbabwe: Tino Mawoyo, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams, Elton Chigumbura (c), Malcolm Waller, Prosper Utseya, John Nyumbu, Tendai Chatara, Donald Tiripano, Luke Jongwe, Shingirai Masakadza, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Brian Vitori, Vusi Sibanda, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Natsai Mushangwe, Curthbert Musoko
Time: 7:30 GMT | 13:00 IST
Catch all the coverage of the Zimbabwe Tri-Series 2014 here
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time)