South Africa laboured to a five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the opening Momentum one-day international at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Sunday.
The home side were set a meagre target of just 118 in 50 overs and struggled to reach 119 for five in 26.1 overs in reply to Zimbabwe’s 117 all out in 31.4 overs. South Africa had slumped to 45 for three and 58 for four before Heinrich Klaasen took on the spin of Wellington Masakadza (5-1-26-2), smashing two consecutive sixes before holing out to Craig Ervine in the deep going for a third.
Klaasen made a run-a-ball 44 with five boundaries and two maximums while sharing in a vital stand of 38 for the fifth wicket with captain JP Duminy from 43 balls to steady the ship. Duminy guided his side victory, making a patient, unbeaten 16 from 29 balls along with Wiaan Mulder, who ended unbeaten on 14 from 17 deliveries.
Aiden Markram had looked aggressive upfront, despite being given two lives, dropped on 15 by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor off Tendai Chitara (6-1-12-2) and then being caught in the slips off a no-ball, again off Chitara. Markram though did not push on and was caught three balls later at mid-off by Elton Chigumbura for 27 from 38 balls with five boundaries as Chitara finally had his man.
Dean Elgar (2) fell early, caught at third man by Peter Moor off Chitara before Wellington Masakadza bowled a beauty to clean-bowl Reeza Hendricks for just five to leave the home side on 25 for two. The sides went to lunch shortly after Markram departed with the home side on 45 for three but Klaasen and Jonker returned to push their side to victory.
Jonker though did not last long in his debut, smashing a ball from leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta (4-0-24-1) straight to Sean Williams at short mid-wicket for just six. Klaasen was looking to finish the match in a hurry when he took on Masakadza in his second spell but lost his head in going for the third maximum in the over and toe-ended his shot straight to Ervine.
Earlier, Zimbabwe had been dispatched for their lowest total against the Proteas, with Elton Chigumbura top-scoring with 27 from 37 balls, which included four boundaries after his captain, Hilton Masakadza had laboured to 25 from 52 deliveries with four boundaries.
Moor (13) and Wellington Masakadza (15) were the only other two batsmen to post double figures as the rest of the batting lineup had failed to impress. Man of the match Lungi Ngidi impressed with the ball, claiming 3-19 in 8.1 overs, claiming the wickets of Solomon Mire (0), Chigumbura and Kyle Jarvis (8).
Zimbabwe lost wickets regularly with Ervine (7), Taylor (9) and Sean Williams (4) all falling cheaply. Chigumbura and Wellington Mazakadza posted the best stand for the visitors, scoring 24 runs off 37 balls for the seventh wicket before Imraan Tahir (5-1-23-2) was brought into the attack.
The South African legspinner trapped Mazakadza in front to break the seventh-wicket stand and then claimed the wicket of debutante, Brandon Mavuta (5), also trapped in front. Kagiso Rabada, opting to bowl into the stiff wind, ended with 2-34 after changing ends.
The two all-rounders, Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo, bowled well in tandem with Mulder claiming 1-19 in six overs and Phehlukwayo ending with 2-22 in seven overs.
The sides now move to Bloemfontein for the second one-day international with South Africa leading the three-match series 1-0.
** Published on Supersport.com