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International Twenty20 Series
Springbok Park, Bloemfontein
South Africa win by seven wickets South Africa really made mincemeat of a total that looked to be pretty decent. Loots Botsman and Graeme Smith got them off to a very good start. The two openers and debutant Colin Ingram went in quick succession and everyone thought it was game on. However, JP Duminy and David Miller hit an unbeaten half-century stand to take South Africa to a comfortable win. Thank you for your company and do join us again on Sunday for the second and final T20.
Over 16 Cremer 2-1-4-6 169-3- South Africa need another 14 runs as Prosper Utseya come back into the attack. Duminy gets a couple down the ground and then picks up four through extra cover. Nice timing and placement on the last shot. He finishes the match with six over the long-on boundary. That's that people.
Over 15 Mpofu 0-0-1-1-1lb-1 155-3 - This has been a brilliant partnership from these two as South Africa was a spot of bother after losing three quick wickets. Short and over the batsman's shoulders from Mpofu, but the umpire decides not to give it as a wide. Miller cracks it straight to extra cover and Utseya does well to stop it, but they take a run on the fumble. Duminy angles it down to third man.
Over 14 Rainsford 1-2-1-4-4-1 151-3 - Rainsford is also back for his second spell. He went for 29 in his first two overs. Miller pushes it down the ground while Duminy pulls for a couple. Delicate touch down to third man from Duminy. His confidence is returning. Miller pulls again and gets for more. The 150 and half-century partnership come up as Miller uses his feet to smash it over extra cover.
Over 13 Mpofu 0-0-1-0-1-0 138-3 - We will have some again as Chris Mpofu comes back into the attack. He mixes things up by sending down a shorter one to Duminy. The two left-handers pick up a couple of singles to the leg-side. Tidy over from Mpofu.
Over 12 Cremer 1-6-1-6-0-4 136-3 - Miller takes one before Duminy shows some aggression by coming down the ground and going over deep midwicket. The target is now below 50. Miller also has his dancing shoes on and goes over long-off for six. Four more as a shorter ball is pulled through midwicket for four.
Over 11 Dabengwa 1-4-1-1-1-4 118-3 - Keith Dabengwa is into the attack. South Africa only need a run a ball from here on in. Duminy takes one with a ticke before Miller pulls powerfully to backward square leg. Duminy tries to take a single that's not there. He rightly gets sent back, but the throw is wild and it's four extra runs to the South African total.
Over 10 Cremer 0-1-0-0-2-4 106-3 - The spinners have done a job here for Zimbabwe and the hosts are in a little bit of trouble after those three quick wickets. Duminy uses his feet to push it down the ground. That brings up South Africa's 100. Miller is all defence first up and then uses his feet to pick up two to long-off. Oops! Mpofu makes a meal of a straightforward sweep at deep backward square leg and Miller gets four.
Over 9 Utseya 1-0-1-W-0-0 99-3 - Ingram and Duminy pick up a couple of singles. WICKET! Ingram goes for three on debut as he pulls it straight to deep backward square leg. He is replaced by another inexperienced player in David Miller. Chigumbura decides to bring in a slip to put pressure on the youngster.
Over 8 Cremer 1-4-W-1-0-1 97-2 - Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer comes into the attack. His economy rate is just under five and he will bowl to debutant Colin Ingram. The 'newbie' is away with a single to the leg-side. Smith continues the onslaught as he sweeps powerfully along the ground to deep midwicket. WICKET! He attempts another sweep shot, but this time he misses the ball. It was full and he was right in front. Window of opportunity fo Zimbabwe as JP Duminy strides out to the middle.
Over 7 Utseya 2-2-1-6-1-W 90-1 - The runs continue to come freely as Bosman gets a couple to deep midwicket. He gets another couple, but this time it's airborne, but the man can't get there. Graeme Smith goes to 53 off 26b, 8x4, 2x6. WICKET! Zimbabwe get a wicket, but half the job is done. He looks to go over long-off for his fourth six, but holes out to Taylor.
Over 6 Masakadza 4-4-6-0-0-0 78-0 - It's the final over for the Powerplay and the South Africans will be looking to take new bowler Hamilton Masakadza to the cleaners as well. He's bowling gentle medium pacers and Smith smashes him down the ground for four. And again, this time over mid-off. This is all too easy for Smith as he helps himself to six more over deep midwicket. Ooh! A dot ball! Dropped! Now there's a drop as Mpofu puts it down at short fine leg.
Over 5 Utseya 2lb-4-4-1-0-4 64-0 - Captain Chigumbura looks to former skipper Prosper Utseya to stem the flow of runs. Smith tickles it around the corner for a couple of leg byes. Smith is really on a roll and he pulls a couple of times for back-to-back boundaries. The first four brought up the half-century stand. Bosman goes down the ground and it's four more.
Over 4 Rainsford 0-1-2-1-6-6 49-0 - The South Africans will be happy with this start, especially with their inexperienced middle-order. Bosman gets one down the ground. Umpire Jerling has a word with the captain and then gives Rainsford an official warning for running onto the pitch. Smith doesn't get all if it, but still picks up a couple down the ground. Smith gives himself room, but gets only one down the ground. Bosman stands and delivers over mid-off for six. He repeats the trick next ball and the result is the same.
Over 3 Mpofu 2-4-0-4-wd-0-4 33-0 - Smith whips it over midwicket. It's a little too high, but it falls in no-man's land and he gets a couple. The next one just sits up and Smith pulls it along the ground for four. Misfield at point and Smith charges down the track, but his partner is not interested and sends him back. He has to get into fourth gear, but the throw is too high. Four more as Smith pulls another one that's too short. Smith finishes another big over for the hosts by charging down the track and going over mid-off.
Over 2 Rainsford 1-1-1-6-4-0 18-0 - Edward Rainsford will share the new ball. He will be confident after some good displays against Ireland in their recent ODI series. Smith and Bosman rotate the strike with a couple of singles around the park. Shot! The first shot in anger goes over the ropes for six. It's up there from Rainsford and Bosman stands and delivers over long-off. Next one is straighter and Bosman whips it through midwicket.
Over 1 Mpofu 0-4-0-0-1-0 5-0 - Christopher Mpofu opens the bowling and he has a decent average of just over 22 in this form of the game. He has one slip in. He starts with a full one that Smith keeps out. The left-handed opener and South Africa are away with a straight drive down the ground. Smith opened the face of the bat and gently pushed it wide of mid-off. Big vacant area at midwicket and Smtih pushes it there for one.
Taking A Back Seat We saw Graeme Smith just once during Zimbabwe's innings and that was when the ball flew over his head on the boundary. He has a chance to steal the spotlight with a good knock now. His opening partner is Loots Botsman.
Welcome Back This should be a good game as South Africa have an inexperienced middle order. After the openers they have debutant Colin Ingram, David Miller (1 cap), JP Duminy (out of form), wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn (1 cap) and the all-rounders to come.
Zimbabwe End On 168 For Four Great score thanks to a cracking second half to the innings. Half-centuries from Chibhaba and Masakadza carried Zimbabwe the bulk of the way, while a shoddy day in the field and injury to Morkel hardly helped the Proteas' cause. The hosts' batting order isn't that convincing on paper and we might, just maybe, be in for an upset in Bloemfontein. Stick around for the chase. It's sure to be a scorcher.
Over 20 McLaren 0-4-6-1b-1b-2 168-4 - Too short and too much toward the leg-side from McLaren, who fetches four across fine-leg courtesy Dabengwa, who then goes quite huge over Cow Corner for six. McLaren's line and lenght all over the place, here. Last-gasp, scrambled byes end the innings.
Over 19 Theron 0-6-0-1-1,W-4 154-4 - Theron resigns Masakadza to the floor with a yorker before rubbernecking to see a rank full-toss sail over Cow Corner for six. Smith couldn't be bothered with trying to pull off some acrobatics inside the ropes. Wicket! Utlimately, it takes a direct-hit from debutant Ingram at mid-on to send the big-hitting half-centurion packing. South Africa happy to eventually have someone strike the stumps. Dabengwa in now. Collective 150 up for Zimbabwe.
Over 18 Parnell 1lb-4-2-4-6-1 142-3 - Masakadza seems a goner at the striker's end in the quest for a quick single but, not for the first time today, South Africa are found wanting on the direct-hit front. Happy to cash in on another lifeline, Masakadza pulls for four to go to his half-century from 55 balls, five fours included. Hammering Hamilton keeps going, powering four across the off-side and slog-sweeping six through Bosman's hands at midwicket. Meanwhile Chibhahba, from the sidelines, reveals that Zimbabwe are aiming for a tally in excess of 165. That's well above the 150-odd average at this ground.
Over 17 Theron 1-2-1wd-W-0-6-1 124-3 - Renowned for his prowess at the death of the innings, Theron returns to the attack. Wicket! A horrible wide down the leg-side is quickly made up for by a cracking yorker, which is all too much for Chigumbura to handled as the leg-stump cartwheels toward fine-leg. Coventry in now, quickly getting into the thick of things by muscling a slower ball over long-on for six.
Over 16 Botha 0-0-0-1-1-1 113-2 - Fat swat outside the off-stump from Masakadza, but no connection time and time again as McLaren undoes the right-hander with a sly change of pace. Chigumbura, meanwhile, can hardly get the ball of the square despite his attempts to go big over midwicket.
Over 15 Botha 4-1-0-4-0-1 110-2 - Chigumbura goes inside-out over cover for four, then leaving Masakadza to replicate the result with a single as the opener obliges with four squeezed past backward point. With wickets in hand, the Zimbabweans can really look to swing for the fences from here on in.
Over 14 Parnell W-1-1-1-0-1 100-2 - Wicket! Parnell's return to the attack works a treat for the hosts, as a short ball gets too big on the half-centurion, who holes out at square-leg, where Botha shows his team-mates how to hang onto a skyer. Big-hitting captain Chigumbura in now. Collective century up for Zimbabwe. Great return over from the southpaw seamer.
Over 13 Duminy 1lb-1-6-4-0-1 96-1 - Chibhaba now has his highest Twenty20 International score as he cranks six more over long-on and then goes to his half-century with a four through mid-off. Just 29 balls to get there, six fours and two sixes included. Great going from the 24-year-old right-hander, who now holds the record for the fastest Twenty20 International half-ton by a Zimbabwean.
Over 12 Botha 1-1-6-0-0-1 83-1 - Not much flight from the South African captain for now, with a couple of darters keeping Chibhaba and Masakdza to singles. Then, Chibhaba opts for a massive slog-sweep, which he hardly middles, bat it has enough on it to sail over midwicket for the first six of the match. Underdogs on the top, here.
Over 11 Duminy 4-4-1-0-0-2 74-1 - Third bowler today to kick off their spell with a boundary, as spinner Duminy coughs up a rank full-toss, which Chibhaba hammers through midwicket. He follows that up with four more savaged through the covers, which brings up the half-century partnership off just 34 balls. Wicketkeeper Kuhn forced to be very vocal from behind the stumps in a bid to keep his lazy team-mates on their toes.
Over 10 Botha 1-0-1lb-0-0-2 63-1 - Chibhabha really looking to free his arms here, but Botha pegs him back, for now, with deception in pace and flight. Botha's charges, meanwhile, are enduring a pretty sluggish day in the field, with far too many singles turned into twos but the Zimbabwean duo. The tourists going at 6.3 to the over at the halfway mark of their innings.
Over 9 McLaren 1-4-4-1-1-4 59-1 - Aggression on ZImbabwe's part kicking in now, with Chibhabha tonking four down the ground and then bobbling four more over short thirdman's head - not quite a dropped catch, but Parnell could've done a better job in clasping that from the sky. Collective half-century up thanks largely to the 15 runs off this over.
Over 8 Botha 1-1-2-2-1-1 44-1 - Spin into the attack for the so-called middle overswith the batsmen ajusting their sights across a couple of singles before Chibhabha planks respective twos over point and square-leg. Dropped! Then, Botha appears have had the last laugh, but Miller drops a slog-swept sitter at midwicket. Straight down his throat, that, and he couldn't even take it at second grab.
Over 7 Theron 1-0-1-1-2-1lb 36-1 - Change of ends for Theron too. Chibhaba finding the middle plenty of times, but unable to pierce the covers for anyhting else but a single. Meanwhile, news from the Proteas camp, namely Albie Morkel, reveals that his brother won't be taking the field again today. His crocked ankle is now strapped up. News on the severity of the injury to follow.
Over 6 McLaren 4-1wd-0-1-0-1lb-1 30-1 - Much like Theron, McLaren kicks off his spell with a horrid leg-side half-volley, which Masakadza is entirely happy to oblige to the long-on fence. Botha, meanwhile, is warming up and should enter the attack for his four overs on the trot at the culmination of the mandatory Powerplay.
Over 5 Parnell 0-1-0-W-2-0 22-1 - Change of ends for the left-armer, with a single stolen to mid-on giving Taylor some due strike. The right-hander looks to cash in with a cracking square-drive, but can't puncture the gap at cover. Wicket! That turns out to be the last time the ball meets Taylor's bat today, as a masterful slower ball traps him on the front pad dead in front of the stumps. Plumb as they come, really, with the batsman found wanting on the back foot. Chibhabha in now, who squeezes a couple through mid-on to get off the mark. Morkel falls on it in a very hackneyed manner and had gone and rolled his ankle in the process. 12th man and physiotherapist rush onto the oval to help him hobble off the field. Short on fast bowlers as it is, the Proteas hardly need this injury worry.
Over 4 Theron 4-0-0-0-1-0 19-0 - The debutant's first delivery in international cricket is an awful one, too pitched and angled into the pads, with Masakadza powering it through backward square-leg for four. Getting very close to the stumps in his delivery, is Theron, who rattles the non-striker's off-stump twice on the trot. Very Shaun Pollock-, Glenn McGrath-esque.
Over 3 M Morkel 0-0-0-4-3-0 14-0 - Good going from Morkel for the first half of the over before a rank half-volley affords Masakadza for on the straight drive. Some over-correction in length then sees the right-hander go on the pull, which is hardly middled and plugs to the deep for three. Second-fiddle Taylor, scraping for strike, then digs out a yorker to close the over.
Over 2 Parnell 0-0-0-4-1-0 7-0 - Straight back to new-ball duty for the southpaw seamer after a long lay-off due to injury, starting well in forcing Masakadza's edge and then going up for an lbw shout, which is halfhearted at best as the ball was clearly sliding down the leg-side. Then, four - without reaching the fence - for Masakadza, whose drive and hard running alongside Taylor bring the anomaly.
Over 1 M Morkel 0-0-0-0-0-1wd-1 2-0 - No width whatsoever to work with for the right-handed Masakdza, with Morkel sticking to a lovely line and length outside the off-stump. That's all out the window, though, when one screams down the leg-side and another is far too wide of the right-hander's off-stump for umpire Jerling's liking.
Strap In For The Ride Zimbabwe openers Masakadza, Taylor, umpires Cloete and Jerling and the Proteas out in the middle and good to go.
Playing Conditions Pretty hot in Bloemfontein today, with the temperature sitting around 29 degrees Celsius. All the boundaries are 70-odd metres away from the square, which is "full of runs," according to resident pitch pundit Robin Jackman.
Left Out The Proteas forgo Robin Peterson and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, while red tape has held up Grant Flower's arrival for Zimbabwe.
Toss News from out in the middle reveals Elton Chigumbura has won the toss and Zimbabwe will bat first.
Early Release Of The Starting XIs South Africa: Graeme Smith, Loots Bosman, Colin Ingram, David Miller, JP Duminy, Ryan McLaren, Johan Botha, Heino Kuhn, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Juan Theron. Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Justice Chibhabha, Tatenda Taibu, Charles Coventry, Elton Chigumbura, Keith Dabengwa, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Ed Rainsford, Chris Mpofu.
Smtih Dependency "South Africa have, for many years, been defined by the captaincy of Smith. When he is in the right frame of mind, the team generally win. If he has an off day, then the team loses. During yhe small amount that Botha has captained the side, he has shown that he is a lot more consistent on a mental front thanSmith. I'm glad he is finally at the helm of the Twenty20 side. He surely get the ODI leadership at the turn of the World Cup. Today, though, I'm pretty sure Smith will lead the side without the official tag as captain. Botha will do well not to be Smith's pawn," insists Matthew Knight.
Let's Hear From You Meanwhile, get in touch with us. Kicking things off with a bit of debate around the Proteas' captaincy, a bit of banter around Graeme Smith versus Johan Botha's leadership style is in order. Your opinions on this and that to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greetings Good day to South Africans, Zimbabweans and all the other cricket fans dotted around the globe, and welcome to our over-by-over commentary of the first - of two - Twenty20 Internationals betwwen the two African nations. It's the first time ever they'll battle it out across this format, so stick around for the groundbreaking theatre of it all.
Read the views of former England captain Nasser Hussain with skysports.com.