By Brendon Atwell
South Africa cantered to a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe to seal the three-match KFC T20 series 2-0 with a match to spare at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday evening.
Zimbabwe set South Africa 133 to win in 20 overs and the hosts comfortably reached their target with 26 balls to spare, ending on 135 for four with JP Duminy guiding his side to victory with an unbeaten 33 from 26 balls including three boundaries and a six.
South Africa’s batting lineup failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck with Rassie van der Dussen (13) and captain Faf du Plessis (12) falling cheaply. Van der Dussen, who claimed a maiden half-century on his debut in the first T20, chipped a slower ball from Chris Mpofu (3.4-0-31-1) straight back to the bowler.
Du Plessis looked confident in striking two boundaries from his nine balls, played inside the line from a delivery from Sean Williams (3-0-25-2) and was clean-bowled shortly after Quinton de Kock had been bowled by the ever-improving Brandon Mavuta (4-0-29-1).
South Africa had found themselves at 58 for three but Duminy and Heinrich Klaasen (22) steadied the nerves with a stand of 44 from 31 deliveries before Duminy and Miller (19 not out) played out the match with an unbroken stand of 33 from 26 balls.
Earlier, Zimbabwe had posted 132 for seven in their 20 overs after captain Hamilton Masakadza had won the toss and elected to bat first. Man of the match Dane Paterson (4-0-22-2) needed just two balls to make an impact as he bowled Solomon Mire (1), who had earned a recall himself.
Masakadza (21) and Brendan Taylor (29) looked confident in their stand 26 from 22 balls but the introduction of the experienced Robbie Frylinck (4-0-20-2) broke the stand as Masakadza was clean-bowled after facing just 16 balls with two boundaries and two sixes.
De Kock then took a good catch off Frylinck to dismiss Tarisai Muskanda without scoring to leave the visitors on 35 for three. Taylor and Williams (41) then added 29 runs off 27 balls for the fourth wicket with Taylor struggling to find the boundary on regular occasions.
The Zimbabwean wicketkeeper faced 35 balls with two fours and a six and it was left up to Williams to keep the pace up. Williams faced just 28 balls and struck two boundaries and three sixes off leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-37-1) but Paterson returned to the attack and and bowled the left-hander with a slower ball.
Peter Moor (9) and Elton Chigumbura (6) failed to ignite while Tendai Chisoro (14 not out) and Mavuta (7 not out) managed 17 unbeaten runs from 11 balls to give their bowlers something to bowl at.
The teams head-off to Benoni for the third and final T20 with South Africa looking to make it a clean-sweep as they did in the one day international series.