South Africa registered a convincing seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the last game of the three-match one-day international series at the Queen Sports Club in Bulawayo.
The Proteas restricted Zimbabwe to a paltry 165, before coasting to victory in the 28th over, as left-hander Quinton de Kock starred with a belligerent 84.
Right-hander Faf du Plessis skippered the team in this match after regular captain AB de Villiers was rested. The tourists, apart from resting De Villers, brought in pacers Marchant de Lange and Mthokosizi Shezi for this game. The home side surprisingly left out batsman Brendan Taylor citing poor form.
For the South Africans, given the strength of their batting lineup, Zimbabwe's score of 165 was never going to pose a stiff challenge. If the home side needed to make an impact, early wickets were needed. They had some good fortune when debutant Rilee Roussouw was run out off the the first ball of his one day-international career. This brought du Plessis to the crease.
Both du Plessis and the opener de Kock went on the attack, with the stand-in skipper, in particular, very aggressive. In over number seven, Du Plessis hit right-handed leggie Tafadzwa Kamungozi for three fours. South Africa, at this stage, were going at more than six runs per over. They continued in this vein as they had reduced the target to less than a 100 runs inside the first ten overs.
As du Plessis and de Kock looked as if they would win the game on their own, the former was castled by left-arm spinner Sean Williams in the thirteenth over. This brought JP Duminy to the crease, and Du Plessis's dismissal did not seem to deter de Kock as he hit off-spinner John Nyumbu for a six in the next over.
Duminy and de Kock put together a 70-run partnership as the Proteas inched closer to victory. De kock , however, wouldn't stay till the end as medium pacer Tinashe Panyangara got his wicket. Thereafter, left-hander David Miller and JP Duminy saw to it no more wickets were lost as South Africa won by seven wickets.
Earlier, Zimbabwe faltered with the bat yet again. Skipper Elton Chigumbura top scored with 90 runs, and could only watch as his teammates folded quickly at the other end, unable to find their groove against the South African bowling lineup, with pacer Marchant de Lange scalping three wickets.