Imran Tahir’s five-for sealed a 34-run win for the Proteas in the first T20I against Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park in East London.
The Proteas’ dreadful start saw them lose two wickets for 11 runs in 1.3 overs. Zimbabwe’s star pairing of Kyle Jarvis (3-37) and Chris Mpofu (2-24) gave the visitors the perfect start after the former removed debutant Gihahn Cloete (two) and the latter removing Quinton de Kock (five).
Brandon Mavuta was the other wicket-taker for Zimbabwe, removing an in-form Faf du Plessis for 34.
David Miller bettered his skipper scoring 39 of 34 balls before Jarvis removed the dangerman.
It was second debutant Rassie van der Dussen who lifted the Proteas’ innings, his 56 off 44 balls helping the hosts to 160-6 in 20 overs.
Tahir gave the Proteas an even better start. Opening the bowling once again, he removed Chamu Chibhabha’s off-stump for three and he followed this up on the first ball of his second over by trapping Hailton Masakadza lbw for one. He left the visitors on 11-3 his following delivery by removing Tarisai Musakanda for a duck after a brilliant full-stretched catch from De Kock.
Junior Dala was the next one to strike. He angled in a bouncer to Brendan Taylor’s head and the Zimbabwean chipped an attempted ramp shot above De Kock’s head who timed his jump to perfection to take a blinding left-handed catch.
With Zimbabwe in trouble on 40-4 in eight overs. The visitors dragged themselves to 65, but Tahir was brought back for his third over and took a second brace for his five-for. He removed Sean Williams’ middle stump for 21, followed by trapping Elton Chigumbura lbw for a duck. This took him to 60 wickets in T20Is taking him past Dale Steyn (58) as the leading wicket-taker in the format for South Africa.
Andile Phehlukwayo climbed in, Tendai Chisoro pulling a short delivery straight back to the bowler for two.
Peter Moor was Zimbabwe’s best batsman. He hit four consecutive sixes off Tabraiz Shamsi’s final over to lift his side past the 100-run mark, the Proteas spinner ending with figures of 0-43.
Mavuta (28) mimicked his partner in boundaries, punishing Dala with two fours and a six in the 16th over in a 53-run stand with Moor. Dala ended this by removing Mavuta who cut him to Lungi Ngidi at third man.
Ngidi’s blazing inswinger rebounded off Jarvis’ thigh and into the speedster’s stumps for a duck.
Moor was Zimbabwe’s final hope but he was dismissed by Phehlukwayo after a 21-ball 44. Zimbabwe all out for 126 in 17.2 overs.
South Africa innings 160-6 – Rassie van der Dussen 56, David Miller 39; Kyle Jarvis 3-37, Chris Mpofu 2-24.
Zimbabwe innings 126 – Peter Moor 44; Imran Tahir 5-23