Hamilton (New Zealand), Feb 15:
Minnows Zimbabwe put up a brave fight against one of the pre-tournament favourites South Africa but in the end were bowled out for 277 in 48.2 overs, falling 62 runs short in a Pool B encounter of the ICC World Cup at the Seddon Park here Sunday.
An unbeaten double century stand between David Miller (138 not out) and Jean-Paul Duminy (115 not out) helped South Africa score a mammoth 339 for four after being put into bat.
Zimbabwe were in the contest for the majority of the chase but lost their way as they got into the business end of things.
Hamilton Masakadza (80), Chamu Chibhabha (64) and Brendan Taylor (40) were the key contributors but Zimbabweans didn’t have enough quality towards the fag end to capitalise on their good start.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir with figures of three for 36 was the pick of the South African bowlers. He got good support from pacers Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel who took two wickets apiece.
Zimbabwe, however, have issued a clear warning to the rest of the teams in Pool B.
Earlier, the 256-run unbeaten stand off in just 178 balls between Duminy and Miller became the highest partnership for the fifth-wicket in all World Cup matches.
The previous best was at Cardiff in 1999 by New Zealand when Roger Twose and Chris Cairns made 148 against Australia.
However, it was not all rosy for one for the pre-tournament favourites. South Africa lost the toss and were put into bat in testing conditions.
They were rocked early as wickets tumbled, with Zimbabwean pacers making full use of the helpful conditions.
Quinton de Kock (7) fell in the fourth over after the South Africans had made an extremely slow start – scoring just 10 off the first four overs.
Hashim Amla (11) fell four overs later with the South Africans managing just 20 runs. Faf du Plessis (24) and captain AB de Villiers (25) steadied the ship briefly with a 46-run stand for the third wicket.
Both were dismissed in a space of four overs to leave South Africa wobbling at 83 for four.
From that point on, Miller and Duminy took centrestage. After negating the movement, and with the pitch settling down, de Villiers’ wicket was the last hurrah for the Zimbabwean bowlers.
After the 40th over, South Africa were 193 for four, going at a run-rate of 4.82 per over.
By the end of the 44th over, the Proteas had reached 228 for four and it seemed they would be content to reach a score around 280.
However, Miller and Duminy had something completely different in mind. The left-handed duo started teeing off on every ball and that bore some unexpected results.
Such was the ruthlessness that the two scored an incredible 111 runs off the final six overs to take South Africa to an imposing score.
South Africa: 339 for four in 50 overs (David Miller 138 not out, Jean-Paul Duminy 115 not out; Tinashe Panyangara 1-73, Tendai Chatara 1-71) beat Zimbabwe: 277 all out in 48.2 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 80, Chamu Chibhabha 64; Imran Tahir 3-36, Vernon Philander 2-30)