South Africa have taken a 1-0 lead in their three match T20I series against Zimbabwe after defeating the visitors by 36 runs in the first T20I at Buffalo Park, East London. Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat first. Quinton De Kock made his long awaited comeback to the National side after sitting out on the sidelines with an injury.
South Africa handed Gihahn Cloete his T20I debut but the 26 y/o failed to make an impact as he lost his wicket in the first over of the innings to Kyle Jarvis for 2 runs. De Kock’s return was a short-lived one. The wicket keeper batsman was picked up by Chris Mpofu in the second over. South Africa’s start was underwhelming with just 11 runs on the board for the loss of two wickets in the first two overs.
Du Plessis and another debutant Rassie Van Der Dussen started stabilising the innings. Du Plessis looked to play aggressive cricket. He smashed five fours and two sixes before being dismissed by Brandon Mavuta in the 7th over for 34 runs. Having missed the ODI series, David Miller was making his comeback to the Proteas squad in this series. The duo of Dussen and Miller added 87 runs for the fourth wicket. Jarvis got his second wicket of the innings in the form of Miller who perished for 39 runs. South Africa were 139-4 at this stage. Dussen converted his conservative start into a fifty before Mpofu struck again. Jarvis got his third of the night when he sent Christian Jonker back to the pavilion. South Africa finished their innings with 160 runs for the loss of six wickets in their quota of 20 overs.
Du Plessis decided to hand Imran Tahir the new ball along with Lungi Ngidi. And the move paid off. Tahir struck in his fourth delivery to dismiss Chamu Chibhabha. The leggie produced the goods again in his second over. Hamilton Masakadza was struck on the pads right in front of the wickets as the batting side was reduced to 11-2. 11-2 soon became 11-3 in the very next delivery of Tahir. Tarisai Musakanda’s edge found the hands of De Kock behind the wickets.
Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams looked to construct a slow partnership in order to save the dismantled innings. But Junior Dala did the job for Du Plessis when he broke the partnership and picked up Taylor’s wicket. Tahir’s googly was too hot to handle for Williams. The left handed batsman was completely beaten by the ball which hit his stumps. Zimbabwe were lingering at 65-5 in the 12th over at this stage. Tahir again struck twice in two deliveries to pick up his fifth wicket of the innings. This time it was Elton Chigumbura who had to lose his wicket.
Zimbabwe soon found themselves 70-7 when Andile Phehlukwayo caught of his own bowling to remove Tendai Chisoro. Just when it looked like South Africa would soon wrap up the match, Peter Moore and Brandon Mavuta came out of all guns blazing. The duo added 53 runs in just 19 delivers to put the pressure back on the hosts. But the target proved too much for the chasing side and when Dala picked up Mavuta, the floodgates opened. Ngidi and Phehlukwayo cleaned up the tail to end Zimbabwe’s innings for 130 runs and handed the hosts with a 36 run victory.
Zimbabwe would see this as an opportunity lost to get a victory over their succesful neighbours. The series now moves to Potchefstroom where the second T20I will be played on 12th of this month.
South Africa: 160-6 (20 o.)
Rassie Van Der Dussen: 56 (44)
David Miller: 39 (34)
Kyle Jarvis: 4-0-37-3.
Zimbabwe: 126-10 (17.3 o.)
Peter Moore: 44 (21)
Brandon Mavuta: 28 (14)
Imran Tahir: 4-0-23-5.
Man of The Match: Imran Tahir.