After a shaky start South Africa recovered well enough to go on to beat Zimbabwe in match 3 of the Cricket World Cup in Hamilton, New Zealand.
This was the first match for both sides and all eyes were on South Africa to see if they could make an early case for the title. Their comfortable winning margin of 62 runs after posting 339-4 put up against their early rocky performance against a minnow side like Zimbabwe says to me that the jury is still out on that one.
South Africa’s saving grace came about at the hands of the dynamic duo of David Miller and JP Duminy. The two made a record one-day international fifth-wicket stand of 256. Miller (138 not out off 92 balls) and Duminy (115 not out from 100) came together at 83-4. They edged the Proteas to 339-4, including 111 off the last six overs, while Miller smashed 30 off the 48th. South Africa’s 1st and 2nd world-ranking batsmen did not play the opening game and their pace bowlers could only manage five Zimbabwean wickets between them.
Hamilton Masakadza (80) helped Zimbabwe to 277, losing by 62 runs. He shared a century stand with Chamu Chibhabha but was holed out off leg-spinner Imran Tahir. When Masakadza fell, Zimbabwe needed 149 from the final 17 overs, which unfortunately proved beyond them.
This is South Africa’s 27th consecutive ODI win against Zimbabwe and for Zimbabwe it is their 38th word cup defeat. But their performance proved that Zimbabwe are not pushovers and are capable of going on to cause upsets in this competition.