Zimbabwe were made aware of a record they weren’t keen to extend, the longest streak in ODI history between victories against another team.
Duncan Fletcher was captain when Zimbabwe claimed one of their most famous wins against Australia at the 1983 World Cup but it was to be their first and last for the next 28 games. It took 31 years to play those matches and it ended in dramatic fashion with Prosper Utseya hitting the last ball for six to win at the Harare Sports Club in 2014.
That record was shared, however. Until today South Africa had also gone 28 matches unbeaten against their northern neighbours and the Zimbabweans were determined to put an end to the unwanted piece of history on the occasion of captain Hamilton Masakadza’s 200th ODI.
“We need to bat for a bit longer than we did in Kimberley, that’s obvious. We’re bowling and fielding well so if we can put the three disciplines together I believe we can stay alive in the series and give the people back home something to smile about,” he said before the game.
At 101-7 it looked like the Proteas’ 18-year unbeaten run against Zim would come under serious threat but Dale Steyn is growing tired of the doubters who say he is ‘past it’ and decided to let his bat do the talking! It wasn’t quite on a scale of his epic 76 against Australia at the MCG in 2008 which helped set up the first series win down under, but it was good. Very good.
As good as Imram Tahit and Steyn were with the ball, it was a truly dismal batting effort on another awkward rather than ‘terrible’ early season pitch. Goodness knows what will happen in Paarl where the early season wickets actually have a reputation for being difficult!
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