PAARL – South Africa’s experimentation ahead of next year’s World Cup is not only consigned to their team selection, but also to their tactical gameplans.
Fresh from a hat trick in the second ODI in Bloemfontein, leg-spinner Imran Tahir was surprisingly tasked with opening the bowling in tandem with Dale Steyn in the third and final match of the series against Zimbabwe in Paarl on Saturday.
The visiting captain Hamilton Masakadza won the toss and elected to bowl at Boland Park.
The change of tactics all forms part of “Vision 2019”, with South Africa keen to play a more exciting brand of cricket.
Captain Faf du Plessis was also back at the helm of the Proteas in one of three changes to the home team’s starting XI.
Dean Elgar and Christiaan Jonker were the two other players missing out on Saturday, with Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi returning to the starting XI.
Tahir’s elevation in the bowling line-up did not take long to reap the intended rewards, with the veteran spinner clean-bowling Solomon Mire in the sixth over of the day.
Steyn joined the party the following over, when Craig Ervine edged an away-swinger into the gloves off wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen.
Zimbabwe were 42/2 after 10 overs, and the prospect of an early finish at the picturesque venue was on the cards.
Teams At Boland Park
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis (captain), JP Duminy, Heinrich Klassen, Khaya Zondo, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir.
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Solomon Mire, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano, Brandon Mavuta, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara.