Mehluli Sibanda in Kimberly, SA
South Africa 119/5 (Klaasen 44, Markram 27, Chatara 2/12) defeated Zimbabwe 119 (Chigumbura 27, Masakadza 25, Ngidi 3/19, Phehlukwayo 2/22) with five wickets
SOUTH Africa took a one-nil up in the one-day international cricket series after a five-way victory over Zimbabwe in the opening match yesterday.
Former captain Elton Chigumbura top scored for the Chevrons with 27, followed by skipper Hamilton Masakadza with 25, while Zimbabwe was bundled for 117 in 34.1 overs.
It was the lowest total of Zimbabwe in ODIs against South Africa on South African soil and beat the 119 they had posted to Centurion in November 2009.
Heinrich Klaasen scored best for the Proteas with a point 44, when the home team reached its target with 143 balls left.
Masakadza blamed the defeat for those who failed to set up a challenging total for the Proteas. After the five-wicket flight from his bowlers, Masakadza felt that a score of about 180 points was enough to beat the home team.
"Apparently not a good start of the series, we wanted to start well, but we did not succeed, only that we did not put enough points on the board and played the wicket a bit differently than we expected, but even after we had it we still did not do it long enough, we needed at least 50 to 60 runs to make it a game, "said Masakadza.
Zimbabwe struggled from the start after losing the pitch sent to bat, with the South African opening bowling pair of man-of-the-match Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada keeping things tight.
Ngidi took three wickets for 19 runs of 8.1 overs with one virgin, while there were two wickets each for Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Imran Tahir.
In the pursuit of South Africa, Dean Elgar was the first to leave after Tendai had choked Chatara when he tried to make a big shot and deeply fooled Peter Moor.
Left arm spinner Wellington Masakadza hit with the third ball from his first, the leg stump of the boy from the local boy Reeza Hendricks.
Chatara could have taken his second wicket when Aiden Markram was caught on 27, only because the dismissal was canceled, because the sailor had crossed the road. However, the bowler laughed last because Markram was caught halfway through Chigumbura without adding more points.
Brandon Mavuta took a wicket with his third episode in ODI cricket when he had captured fellow debutant Christiaan Jonker by Sean Williams. Mavuta made it right to let the batsman of Kyle Jarvis & bowling in the previous fall over.
Klaasen queued Wellington Masakadza for two huge sixes in a row as he looked to come to his half century in style, but the bowler had the last say when he had taken him deeply by Craig Ervine.
It was Zimbabwe's last party in the game when skipper Jean-Paul Duminy and Wiaan Mulder saw the South Africans over the line.
Masakadza was impressed by how his bowlers came from fires in an effort to defend such a total.
Chatara took two wickets for 12 runs in six overs, while Wellington Masakadza took the same number of wickets at 26 costs.
"The boys showed a little character that came in to defend 118. They have walked very well, especially in advance and the boys really came out of fire, said the skipper.
The series now moves to the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein for the second ODI on Wednesday before it ended in Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday. – @ Mdawini_29