Sibanda, Masakadza give Zimbabwe 176
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Teams that are considered little brothers tend to up to their game when doing battle against their big brothers and Zimbabwe's batsmen did that in a big way. They posted a healthy score against South Africa in the neighbour's first meeting in the tri-series in Harare.
Vusi Sibanda top scored with 58 Â© AFP
Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza shared in an opening stand of 114, with both scoring half-centuries, while Brendan Taylor's quickfire showing at the end propelled them to a good total. The opening pair showed confidence and skill against a South Africa attack that failed to take early wickets for the second match in succession. As they were yesterday, South Africa's seamers could not find the right lengths on a slow surface with turn and grip that is better suited the spinners.
Although Wayne Parnell improved from his wayard and expensive showing against Bangladesh yesterday, South Africa's fielding still left something to be desired. They dropped two clear chances catches, to add to yesterday's three and team management's concerns.
Masakadza, who scored a half-century in the tournament opener as well, opened the boundary count by pouncing on a Robin Peterson delivery that was just a touch too short. But, it felt that the Zimbabwe innings hit a new gear when Vusi Sibanda slog-swept Lonwabo Tsotsobe over backward-square leg at the end of the second over to announce his intent.
Boundaries were not the hallmark of the duo's stand, although when they found them, they found them well. Masakadza took advantage of anything too short while Sibanda drove the fuller balls. They ran well between the wickets and did not allow the run-rate to stagnate when South Africa's spinners came on after the Powerplay.
Although JP Duminy and Robin Peterson had more success in controlling proceedings than Lonwabo Tsotosbe and Marchant de Lange had, Zimbabwe's rotation of strike ensured they continued to build. Once comfortable, the Zimbabwe batsmen even took on the spinners. Sibanda hit Peterson onto the roof of Harare Sports Club while Masakadza brought up his 50 with a meaty blow over long-on off Justin Ontong.
Masakadza was out shortly afterwards as South Africa's first success came in the 14th over. He attempted the slog-sweep but top-edged to deep midwicket. Sibanda was dropped off the first ball of Parnell's second over, when he swung to Richard Levi at long-on, but the mistake was not too costly. After one more pull shot which went for four, Sibanda swung hard and offered Tsotsobe at third man a catch.
Parnell still stuck in that over when Elton Chigumbura, who was moved up the order to No.3, holed out to the first ball he faced. Zimbabwe were forced to rebuild with the loss of three wickets and Brendan Taylor had to face a barrage of slower ball bouncers from Albie Morkel. He eventually lashed out, a slog sweep to long-on, and would have been out had Ontong held on.
Taylor took Zimbabwe over what was considered a par-score with his assault on Parnell. He took 17 runs off the left-armer's third over, spoiling his figures and showing Taylor's class. Taylor was caught down the leg-side in the final over, a decent one from de Lange which cost just 7 runs.
Source: Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo South Africa correspondent
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