South Africa A – 184-8 in 20 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 56, Ryan Rickelton 47, Bjorn Fortuin 19; Tanaka Chivanga 3/29, Wessly Madhevere 2/9, Ernest Masuku 1/28)
Zimbabwe XI – 42 all out in 12 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 16, Craig Ervine 8, Ryan Burl 6; Junior Dala 3/12, Bjorn Fortuin 2/4, Lizaad Williams 2/7)
South Africa A won by 142 runs
Zimbabwe XI suffered a heavy 142-run defeat at the hands of South Africa A in the third of the five-match T20 series at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
The home side won the toss and put the tourists in to bat.
Lesiba Ngoepe, full of confidence after his century on Wednesday, attacked the bowling from the start, but did not last long this time.
He scored 19 of the first 27 runs in three overs, but then tried to pull a ball from Tendai Chatara in the third over and skyed a catch to fine leg.
Two balls later Reeza Hendricks followed him back to the pavilion for three, as he attempted an ambitious drive over mid-on off Wessly Madhevere, and was bowled – 28 for two.
Unfortunately, the Zimbabweans were unable to maintain this good start, as Ryan Rickelton and Heinrich Klaasen settled in for what proved to be the match-winning partnership.
Klaasen played a devastating innings of 56, scored off only 31 balls.
The score was 125 after 13 overs when he skyed a ball from Wellington Masakadza high to the point boundary, to be caught by Craig Ervine after a partnership worth 97 runs – he hit five sixes and three fours.
The remaining batters went for runs at any price and the Zimbabweans cashed in with wickets, but the score continued to rise quickly.
Khaya Zondo was lbw to Madhevere for three, missing a big mow to leg off a straight ball, and then Rickelton, who had scored 47 off 35 balls, slashed at a ball from Tanaka Chivanga that was moving away from him and edged a catch to the wicket-keeper, Richmond Mutumbami.
Jason Smith scored five before clipping a low catch to Chatara at backward square leg off Ernest Masuku, and then Bjorn Fortuin and Glenton Stuurman added 20 in two overs before both were out to big leg-side hits off Chivanga in the final over.
After their 20 overs the South Africans had the daunting score of 184 for eight wickets on the board.
Chivanga with three wickets for 29 runs was the most successful bowler, while Madhevere took two for nine, strangely only bowling two overs.
The Zimbabweans then collapsed disastrously at the top of their order.
At the end of the first over Madhevere aimed a cross-batted mow at a straight ball from Fortuin and was out lbw for one.
Off the very next ball bowled, Takudzwanashe Kaitano was beaten by a good delivery from Daryn Dupavillon and given out caught at the wicket for two.
Sikandar Raza came in at number four, but in vain, as in the third he tried to hook a short ball from Lizaad Williams and skyed a catch to point, out for two.
Tino Mutombodzi was then trapped lbw by Stuurman for five, and Ervine then edged a hook off Williams to depart for eight.
This made the score a disastrous 16 for five wickets, with a wicket having fallen in each of the first five overs.
With all hopes of victory gone, all Ryan Burl and Mutumbami, the last two recognised batters, could do was to try to stay in and score runs at a reasonable pace in a damage limitation exercise.
Mutumbami hit Junior Dala for two fours in three balls to help the cause, but the moment Burl tried a big one he hit a catch straight to the long-leg fieldsman to be out for six – 40 for six wickets.
In the following over Mutumbami aimed a cross-bat heave at a straight ball from Fortuin and paid the penalty, comprehensively bowled for 16 to make the score 41 for seven.
Next to go was Chatara, trying to avoid a stroke at a ball from Dala, but edging a catch to the keeper.
Dala’s next delivery was another fine ball that knocked new man Chivanga’s off stump out of the ground.
With Masakadza injured and unable to bat, the innings closed here for 42 all out – Masuku was not out with two.
Dala finished with three wickets for 12 runs in three overs, while Fortuin’s two overs brought him two wickets for four runs and Williams took two for seven.