PAARL – Sean Williams’ half-century helped Zimbabwe post 228 all out, their highest total of the series, in the third and final ODI against the Proteas at a picturesque Boland Park on Saturday.
Although the tourists have already lost the series, they showed much better fight here in Paarl after previously posting scores of 118 and 78 in the last two matches.
The surface served up by the Boland Park groundstaff certainly allowed the batsmen to play with greater freedom, with Williams and Brendon Taylor particularly showing good form.
Zimbabwe’s most senior batsmen shared a 73-run partnership with the fourth wicket – the highest of the series for the visitors – which set up South Africa’s northern neighbours for a total close to 250.
This did not materialise, though, after Taylor was brilliantly stumped by Heinrich Klaasen off Imran Tahir’s bowling for 40 off 44 balls (6x4).
Taylor passed 6 000 ODI runs in the process.
Tahir effected the dismissal during his second spell after the Proteas surprised by opening the bowling with the veteran leg-spinner.
It was crucial for Zimbabwe that Williams stayed at the crease at least until the 40th over, but after posting his 28th ODI half-century, the left-hander clipped the ball tamely back to Kagiso Rabada, who collected the catch comfortably in his follow-through.
There were further contributions from captain Hamilton Masakadza (28) at the top of the order, before Donald Tiripano also chipped in with 29 at the end of the innings.
Dale Steyn continued his comeback with 3/29, while there were three wickets for Rabada (3/32), and two apiece for Tahir (2/44) and Andile Phehlukwayo (2/34).
In the context of the total, left-arm chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi would have been disappointed with his return of 0/72.