Myers sparkles again but Zimbabwe ‘A’ suffer heavy defeat

South Africa A – 365-6 in 50 overs (Ryan Rickelton 169, Janneman Malan 53, Reeza Hendricks 51; Luke Jongwe 2/65, Tendai Chatara 2/71, Dion Myers 1/29). Zimbabwe A – 181 all out in 35.3 overs (Dion Myers 70, Tadiwanashe Marumani 48, Tarisai Musakanda 9; Senuran Muthusamy 4/37, Dwaine Pretorius 2/24, Glenton Stuurman 1/15). South Africa A won by 184 runs

Despite another fighting innings from Dion Myers, who scored 70 in excellent style, Zimbabwe A went down to another heavy defeat, by 184 runs, at the hands of South Africa A at Harare Sports Club on Monday.

The hero for the South Africans was Ryan Rickelton, their wicket-keeper, who opened the batting and played a magnificent innings of 169. Zimbabwe A won the toss and put the South African team in to bat on another mild sunny morning.

Janneman Malan and Rickelton again opened the batting, and this time it was Rickelton who made the early running, getting after the bowling and at one stage hitting Tanaka Chivanga for two successive fours.

After six overs of pace, the Zimbabweans turned to spin, bringing on Ainsley Ndlovu and Tapiwa Mufudza, slowing down the run rate temporarily. The team fifty came up in the ninth over and, as the batsmen started to climb into the spinners, the hundred in the 17th over.

Malan was now finding his best form and catching up with his partner – he reached his fifty only two balls after Rickelton did, and off fewer deliveries, 46 against 55.

Luke Jongwe and Myers were the next tried with the ball, and Myers did the trick, as Malan on 53 slashed at a ball outside his off stump and was given out caught at the wicket; 120 for one after 20 overs, which made the run rate exactly a run a ball. Reeza Hendricks came in and immediately started to get after the bowling, hitting a six off Chivanga.

Rickelton reached his century off 101 balls, and the 200 came up in the 22nd over with only one wicket down. The second wicket finally came at 257 in the 38th over, as Hendricks tried to hit Mufudza for six and was caught on the leg boundary for 51, scored off 46 balls.

Theunis de Bruyn scored only 17 this time, as he drove a sharp chance back to Tendai Chatara, making the score 295 for three in the 43rd over. Dwaine Pretorius scored nine before he was caught in the deep on the leg side, off Chatara; 307 for four in the 45th over.

In the following over, Jongwe finally removed Rickelton, driving a catch to long-off, for a magnificent innings of 169 – he faced 150 balls and hit three sixes and 15 fours, and left at 310 for five.

Sisanda Magala quickly came and went for six, skying a catch to mid-off, but the next man in, Zubayr Hamza, was in brilliant form, hammering 37 not out off 17 balls. Andile Phehlukwayo made 11 not out and the final total from 50 overs was 365 for six wickets.

Zimbabwe A had had a good period when four wickets fell between 295 and 316, but the South Africans had completely dominated the rest of the innings. Mufudza this time was the most economical of the bowlers, with one for 54 off his 10 overs, while Jongwe took two for 65, but at a heavy price off his seven overs.

Zimbabwe A, chasing a near-impossible target, made the worst possible start, as Chamu Chibhabha edged the first ball of the innings, from Glenton Stuurman, into the slips for a catch.

Tadiwanashe Marumani quickly hit two fours, but Tarisai Musakanda found scoring difficult, and when he lashed out at a ball from Lutho Sipamla which he skyed on the off side for a catch, he had managed only nine off 22 balls; 34 for two in the eighth over.

Suddenly runs began to flow. Magala and Phehlukwayo came on to bowl, and in their second overs Myers hit Magala for 14 runs, including three fours, and then Marumani scored 11 runs (two fours) off Phehlukwayo.

Suddenly the score had bounded to 93 after 14 overs. Myers lashed a ball from Phehlukwayo square on the off side for another four to bring up the team hundred in the 16th over.

Phehlukwayo did get the vital wicket, though, as Marumani pulled and was caught for 48, scored off 49 balls; 109 for three in the 18th over. Milton Shumba came and went for five, edging a catch to the keeper, as he dabbled at a ball from Pretorius outside his off stump; 134 for four in the 21st over.

Richmond Mutumbami, bogged down with three off 13 balls, lashed out but skyed a catch on the off side to make the score 140 for five in the 24th over.

Myers was still there, having reached a fine fifty off 44 balls, and was joined by Jongwe, who scored four before he was caught at the wicket off Pretorius; 156 for six in the 24th over.

All that was left now were four tail-enders to accompany Myers, as Ndlovu came to the wicket next. Myers did not last much longer, though, as he reached 70 and then slashed at a ball from Muthusamy to be caught; 166 for seven.

With Myers went Zimbabwe A’s hopes of a reasonable total, as Ndlovu went for six and Mufudza for one – three wickets down in seven balls. Chivanga did cause a surprise and a moment of pleasure when he swung his bat and hit Magala for six.

The last-wicket pair, with the pressure off now, hung around and hit the occasional single until Chatara (6) hit a catch to mid-on off Muthusamy, leaving Chivanga not out with eight and the total 181, just less than half of the South African score.

Muthusamy picked up four wickets for 37 runs, while Pretorius had two for 24.