Faf du Plessis emerged the top-scored for the Proteas with an innings of 121 from 140 balls which helped rescue his side from a disastrous start © AFP
Sep 4, 2014
South Africa ended their innings at 271 for the loss of six wickets against Zimbabwe, with David Miller and Wayne Parnell at scores 10 each in the sixth match of the Zimbabwe Triangular Series. Neville Madziva was the pick among the bowlers with figures of two for 53 in six overs. The highlight of the South African innings was a century by Faf du Plessis, his third in the current series.
The South African innings began disastrously as they lost their first wicket with just two runs on the board as wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock edged a Tendai Chatara delivery down the leg side for Zimbabwean keeper Brendan Taylor to collect. Hashim Amla too did not last long as he was dismissed for 14 by the same bowler with the scoreboard registering a mere 26 runs in the South African’s account.
In came Faf du Plessis, one of the most talked about players in the South African camp at the moment. du Plessis joined hands with Rilee Rossouw, who had registered consecutive ducks in the first two games of his ODI career. The duo added a crucial 70 runs for the third wicket that helped South Africa recover from the early blows. Zimbabwe managed to fight back for a brief while by capturing the wickets of Rossouw and skipper AB de Villiers in quick succession. Rossouw was cleaned by a Sean Williams delivery that turned sharply and shattered Rossow’s stumps.
Rossow dismissal of 36 from 39 balls in his third ODI innings after registering ducks in the first two was reminiscent of the legendary former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who had a similar figures in his first three games after debut as well. de Villiers had to return to the pavilion in the most unfortunate of circumstances as John Nyumbu dropped a caught and bowled chance and the ball rolled on to the stumps at the non-strikers end with de Villiers short of his crease.
du Plessis then joined hands with Jean-Paul Duminy for a second onslaught and managed to add 103-runs for the fifth wicket. While Duminy brought up his 19th ODI half-century, the feat got eclipsed moments later when du Plessis reached the magical three-figure mark, his third in the current series and his fourth overall. du Plessis reached a new milestone in the process, becoming the fifth-fastest batsman to score three ODI hundreds
After their dismissals at the hands in similar fashion, with both skeing the ball to provide a simple catching practice, it was left to David Miller and Wayne Parnell to take South Africa past the 250-run mark. The duo smashed 20 runs off the final over which was bowled by Neville Madziva, who had been economical until then. A score of 271 is respectable how the pitch seemed to favour the bowlers throughout the South African innings.
Zimbabwe will have to play cautiously and must look for a solid-opening stand if they are to provide any challenge to the Proteas. The pitch is expected to flatten out and work in their favour for a start, while Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will be stocking up their fiery bouncers to be hurled at the Zimbabwean batsmen.
South Africa 271 for 6 in 50 overs (Faf du Plessis 121, Rilee Rossouw 36, JP Duminy 51; N Madziva 2 for 53) vs Zimbabwe
Complete coverage of Zimbabwe Tri-Series 2014
Catch live scores and ball-by-ball commentary of the Zimbabwe vs South Africa match here
(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)