Zimbabwe shocked neighbors South Africa by 29 runs at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday in the third game of a non-cap Twenty20 tri-series.
The home team posted 176-4 off 20 overs and restricted the visitors to 149 in 19.2 overs before a large, delirious crowd used to seeing Zimbabwe suffer heavy losses against one of the top cricket nations in the world.
Unfortunately, the Harare tournament is unofficial so the result will not enter the record books, but the outcome can only boost Zimbabwean morale ahead of an ICC World Twenty20 clash between the countries on Sept. 20 in Sri Lanka.
Zimbabwe top the table halfway through the mini-league phase having defeated Bangladesh by 11 runs in the opening match last Sunday while hot tournament favorites South Africa had 39 runs to spare over the Tigers on Tuesday.
While the Proteas’ bowling and fielding left much to be desired against Bangladesh, they flopped in all departments against Zimbabwe with Colin Ingram (48) and opener Richard Levi (40) the only significant run contributors.
Bowler Wayne Parnell, who was dismal against the Tigers, fared better with 2-33 off three overs on a cool, clear winter afternoon in the Zimbabwean capital, but the attack never gained control over the Zimbabwean batsmen.
“We leaked 20 runs too many and did not build partnerships,” admitted Proteas skipper Hashim Amla, who failed to match his good form of Tuesday and was out for a meager 11 runs in the third over.
Top-order batsmen Vusi Sibanda (58), Hamilton Masakadza (55) and captain Brendan Taylor (38) set up a competitive Zimbabwean total on a wicket that has favored sides batting first as it tends to slow as a game goes on.
While South Africa will point to the absence of rested stars A.B. de Villiers, Johan Botha, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, injuries have sidelined top Zimbabwe duo Tatenda Taibu and Raymond Price.