3rd PRAN RFL T20 Triangular played at Harare Sports Club: Zimbabwe 176 for 4 (Sibanda 58, Masakadza 55, Parnell 2-33) beat South Africa 147 (Ingram 48, Levi 40, Mpofu 3-20, Cremer3-29) by 29 runs
Zimbabwe caused an upset when they beat the much favoured South Africa by 29 runs in the third Pran RFL T20 Triangular series match at Harare sports club on Wednesday. For the second time in a row, Zimbabwean captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and chose to bat on an excellent pitch as they reached a competitive total of 176 for the loss of four wickets from their 20 overs.
Opening batsmen Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda vindicated Taylor's decision to bat by adding 114 for the first wicket before the in-form Masakadza held out to Colin Ingram at deep mid wicket attempting to slog sweep left arm spinner Robin Peterson for another impressive innings of 55 off 39 balls which included five fours and a six.
This was Masakadza's second consecutive fifty of the tournament following 62 he made against Bangladesh in Sunday's opening encounter against Bangladesh.
Vusi Sibanda then matched his opening partner as he to passed fifty, before top edging Wayne Parnell to Lonwabo Tsotsobe down on the third man boundary for 58 off 50 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Captain Brendan Taylor insured that the innings never lost it's momentum as he struck a fine 38 off just 21 deliveries with three fours and two sixes.
South Africa once again were far from their usual high standards as they gave away no less than 15 extras and also fumbled the ball on more than one occasion.
The proteas were almost immediately on the back foot when captain Hashim Amla was out to a brilliant running catch by Masakadza, taking the catch at mid on.
Richard Levi threatened to single handedly win the match as he layed into Kyle Jarvis, who's first spell of two overs conceded 28 runs.
The crowd which had become silent then had much to cheer about when Prosper Utseya had the dangerous Levi well caught at deep mid wicket by Craig Ervine for an aggressive 40 off a mere 28 deliveries which included four fours and two sixes, one of which landed on the main road off the bowling of Chris Mpofu.
Drama then unfolded when the Proteas lost three wickets for just 17 runs as Graeme Cremer ripped through the middle order.
Cremer first had Justin Ontong caught at extra cover for four and then produced an outstanding googly which spun back in to wicket keeper Dane Vilas and had him bowled with out scoring. JP Duminy was Cremer's next scalp when the left hander was stumped by Brendan Taylor for six. But while all the mayhem was happening at one end, Colin Ingram was desperately trying to hold the innings together. But when he skyed man of the match Chris Mpofu to Vusi Sibanda at long on, the writing was pretty much on the wall and it was then left to Richard Muzhange and Kyle Jarvis to take the remainegng two wickets.
South African captain Hashim Amla praised Zimbabwe saying, "Their intensity didn't surprise me, they are a fit and passionate bunch who play their cricket very hard while we on the other hand lacked the intensity Zimbabwe showed." Brendan Taylor paid tribute to the crowd, "The singing and dancing from the crowd was really great! Sometimes you can hear a pin drop when we aren't doing well but today was very different."
Taylor also complimented the latest team member Richard Muzhange saying, "Richard is a captain's dream. You can set a field and you know he will bowl to it."
Man of the match Chris Mpofu acknowledged that there are many younger bowlers fighting for places in the national team, "The younger bowlers like Richard and Brian Vitori are fighting hard all the time which keeps me on my toes. "
The next match sees Zimbabwe taking on Bangladesh on Thursday, 21 June 2012.