South Africa A – 212-2 in 20 overs (Reeza Hendricks 101*, Ryan Rickelton 47, Jason Smith 30*; Ernest Masuku 2/34)
Zimbabwe XI – 120-9 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 25, Milton Shumba 21, Wessly Madhevere 17; Junior Dala 3/19, Glenton Stuurman 3/23, Bjorn Fortuin 2/31)
South Africa A won by 92 runs
A dazzling century from Reeza Hendricks steered South Africa A to a 92-run victory over Zimbabwe XI in the fifth and final T20 match at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
The tourists, having already won the series, threw aside all inhibitions and produced a devastating batting display when they went in first after winning the toss.
Hendricks and Wihan Lubbe opened the batting, with the latter making most of the early running, scoring 21 off 13 balls before he slogged across a straight ball from Ernest Masuku and was bowled, with the score 33 in only the fourth over.
Ryan Rickelton came in and immediately launched into the bowling, while Hendricks soon began to open out too.
They put on 90 runs in nine overs before Rickelton was well caught on the deep off Masuku for 47 as he aimed to reach his fifty – he hit three sixes and four fours, and the score was 123 for two in the 13th over.
For a while the scoring rate dropped below 10 an over as Jason Smith joined Hendricks, but in the last four or five overs the batters really went to town on the bowling.
Hendricks took 33 balls to reach his fifty and opened up more powerfully than ever, while Smith joined the run riot after playing himself in.
Fifty-two runs came from the last three overs, with the bowlers and fielders unable to stem the flood.
Hendricks was on 95 when he faced the last ball of the innings, from Tanaka Chivanga, and he hammered it brilliantly over the off-side field for a six to finish not out with 101, scored off only 55 balls, with no fewer than eight sixes and five fours.
Smith finished with 30 off 24 balls, and the total was an imposing 212 for two wickets.
Zimbabwe XI had no choice but to adopt the same policy and attack the bowling from the very start.
Regis Chakabva soon put Daryn Dupavillon away for a four, and in the third over Wessly Madhevere hit Bjorn Fortuin for two superb leg-side sixes off successive deliveries.
However, the following over from Glenton Stuurman ended all that.
Off the first delivery Chakabva was out, trying to paddle the ball down to fine leg but being caught by the wicket-keeper after scoring 12.
Four balls later, Craig Ervine was beaten and trapped lbw by a superb delivery that jagged back sharply at him off the pitch.
Worse was to come as Junior Dala’s first ball had Nyasha Mayavo caught for one, and the third legitimate delivery, after two wides, bowled out Tino Mutombodzi without scoring.
Dala began his next over by bowling out Madhevere for 17, and the Zimbabwean innings was crippled at 36 for five in the seventh over.
Sikandar Raza came in, defiantly hit Gerald Coetzee for six, and set about with Milton Shumba to try and regain some respect for his team’s innings.
They took the score to 77 together until Fortuin came on to bowl the 15th over, and disaster struck again.
Of the first delivery Shumba was caught in the deep for 21.
Raza, facing the next delivery, hit it for six, but was then promptly caught himself for 25, scored off 25 balls.
Zimbabwe XI were now reduced to a score of 83 for seven wickets, with Ryan Burl and Masuku together, and the best they could aim for was to pass 100 and reduce the margin of defeat to less than 100 runs, if possible.
That they did, as they added 24 together with Masuku hitting three fours before he was bowled by Dupavillon for 17, making the score 107 for eight in exactly 19 overs.
Off the final over, bowled by Stuurman, Burl blasted a four and a six before he perished to the penultimate delivery of the match while attempting another maximum hit – he was caught by Rickelton, having scored 15 off 10 balls.
The last man in, Chivanga, then got a single that closed the Zimbabwe XI innings at 120 for nine, giving South Africa A an emphatic victory by 92 runs.