Zimbabwe A fail to fire as South Africa A seal one-day series

South Africa A – 281-6 in 50 overs (Reeza Hendricks 89, Tony de Zorzi 55, Theunis de Bruyn 40*; Luke Jongwe 3/47, Wellington Masakadza 2/43, Victor Nyauchi 1/53). Zimbabwe A – 165 all out in 38.2 overs (Milton Shumba 35, Luke Jongwe 30, Chamu Chibhabha 24; Senuran Muthusamy 4/36, Sisanda Magala 2/19, Dwaine Pretorius 2/23). South Africa A won by 116 runs

Despite some good all-round play from Luke Jongwe, the Zimbabwe A team as a whole failed to fire in the fourth and final one-day match against South Africa A at Harare Sports Club today, going down by 116 runs.

The hosts won the toss and put the tourists in to bat, on a morning of mixed clouds and sunshine. Victor Nyauchi struck in his second over, as a lifting delivery surprised the dangerous Janneman Malan, who edged a catch to the keeper with only a single to his credit.

Reeza Hendricks joined Ryan Rickelton at the wicket and they applied themselves to make sure their top order did not repeat the collapse that lost them Wednesday’s match.

Rickelton soon began to play his strokes with confidence against Tanaka Chivanga, and then Hendricks hit two successive fours off the same bowler. After bowling four overs for 30 runs, he retired in favour of the left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza.

When Jongwe replaced Nyauchi, Rickelton pulled him for six over midwicket, but when he tried a similar stroke in Jongwe’s next over, he hit it straight to Nyauchi on the leg side and was out for 40, scored off 39 balls, making the score 79 for two wickets in the 15th over.

Jongwe soon struck again as he dismissed the next man, Zubayr Hamza, caught out for eight, with the score 93 for three in the 19th over. Then followed, however, the major partnership of the innings, as Tony de Zorzi joined Hendricks and the pair added 107 runs for the fourth wicket in 19 overs.

When the score reached 200 in the 38th over, Hendricks was finally out for 89, caught off Jongwe, having faced 105 balls and hit nine fours. De Zorzi quickly followed, caught off Masakadza for 55, with seven fours and a six, off 68 balls.

The job now fell to Theunis de Bruyn, with the all-rounders, to score as many runs as possible off the last 10 overs. Senuran Muthusamy was out for 11 off seven balls, but Andile Phehlukwayo stayed to make 20 not out off 17 balls, while de Bruyn was also unbeaten after 50 overs with 40 off 38 balls.

The final score was 281 for six wickets, which set the home side a difficult but not impossible target. Jongwe had been Zimbabwe A’s most successful bowler, taking three wickets for 47, while Masakadza had two for 43, both bowling 10 overs.

The other bowlers used were all more expensive, conceding more than five runs an over. Brian Chari (6) and Tadiwanashe Marumani (10) scored 26 for Zimbabwe A’s first wicket, helped by some generous extras, and then both fell within three balls in the seventh over, bowled by Sisanda Magala.

Chamu Chibhabha and Wesley Madhevere now came together and took the score to 60, before Madhevere was caught off Dwaine Pretorius for 20, while Chibhabha (24) was also caught off Pretorius at 82 for four, in the 19th over.

Milton Shumba batted fluently, but Richmond Mutumbami was unable to get going, and as he tried to get the score moving he was stumped off Muthusamy for three, which took him 15 balls.

Then came the greatest blow to Zimbabwe A’s hopes, as with his score at 35 off 55 balls, Shumba was bowled by Muthusamy, with the score at 122 for six wickets in the 29th over.

Jongwe was still there, and he has occasionally performed almost miraculous feats. He did his best, but lost Masakadza, caught off Hendricks for eight, and then Muthusamy dismissed Ainsley Ndlovu for three, making the score 152 for eight in the 37th over.

At 165, Jongwe himself was then out, caught at the wicket off Muthusamy for 30, scored off 35 balls. Nyauchi was recorded as absent hurt, leaving Chivanga not out with five, and the total of 165 left South Africa A the winners by 116 runs, taking the series by three victories to one.

Muthusamy’s fine bowling did most of the damage, finishing with four wickets for 36 runs, while there were two each for Magala and Pretorius.