The Proteas have one final chance to prove themselves against weaker opposition before their final trials in Australia, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas look to secure a second whitewash with a win over Zimbabwe in the final T20I in Benoni.
Faf du Plessis revealed on Friday that he will be sitting out the last match, which means Gihahn Cloete could have another opportunity to prove himself, after he missed the second T20I due to illness. With Du Plessis out, JP Duminy will captain the side and likely get the opportunity to be shifted up the order.
The aim has been to give every member in the squad two matches to prove themselves, so expect Lungi Ngidi to be rested for Junior Dala. Christiaan Jonker could also be given another shot, which could see either David Miller or Heinrich Klaasen give way.
The Benoni strip is usually known to be a run-scoring track, but by drawing insight from the semi-pro 50-over clash between Boland and Easterns – where both teams were bowled out but managed to score 238 and 240 respectively – could mean there will be opportunities for both the batsmen and the bowlers.
The Proteas would have drawn out a lot of lessons from the series, despite their comprehensive victories, especially the fact that their batsmen have yet to dominate as a unit.
Similarly, Zimbabwe’s batting unit have also failed to impress and will look for redemption in the dead-rubber clash at Willowmoore Park.
With vision 2019 in mind, this serves as a final chance for the newbies against lesser opposition before their final trials in Australia in November.
Players to watch
With a final match to prove themselves against weaker opposition – before the final experimental phase against cricket powerhouse Australia– the likes of Cloete and Tabraiz Shamsi will be intent on showing their ability after a sub-par tour this far. Shamsi has been the Proteas’ most expensive bowler in the in three consecutive white-ball matches and has struggled to prove that he could challenge Imran Tahir as the main spinner in the side. Cloete had one opportunity on debut and only scored two, but will look to redeem himself with a solid knock, and put his name in the hat for a top-order spot.
Hamilton Masakadza has not performed as would have been expected from Zimbabwe’s talisman. He had positive starts and looked dangerous, but failed to push on and score the big runs expected from a national captain. He will have a final opportunity to show his talent and powerful hitting ability.
1 Quinton de Kock (wk)
2 Gihahn Cloete
3 Rassie van der Dussen
4 JP Duminy
5 Heinrich Klaasen/David Miller
6 Christiaan Jonker
7 Robbie Frylinck
8 Andile Phehlukwayo
9 Junior Dala
10 Dane Paterson
11 Tabraiz Shamsi
1 Solomon Mire
2 Hamilton Masakadza (capt)
3 Brendan Taylor (wk)
4 Tarisai Musakanda
5 Sean Williams
6 Peter Moor
7 Neville Madziva
8 Wellington Masakadza
9 Brandon Mavuta
10 Kyle Jarvis
11 Chris Mpofu
– This will be the first T20I between to be played at Willowmoore Park.
– The Proteas have clashed against Zimbabwe in Benoni before, in an ODI in 2010. The hosts scored 399 and toppled the visitors for 127 to claim a 272-run win – their biggest victory in the format.
The match begins at 2:30pm on Sunday.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images