Sydney, Australia (BBN)-Zimbabwe and South Africa share a border, and are cricket’s foremost representatives from Africa.
As cricketing forces, though, there is a gulf between them – South Africa is ranked No. 3 in the Reliance ICC One-Day International Team Rankings, while Zimbabwe is at No. 10, reports ICC.cricket.com.
That said, the thing with derbies is that they are unpredictable.
Teams can be on different extremes of the power scale, but when they clash in a big event, there is always that extra motivating factor that plays its part.
In bilateral clashes between the two, South Africa has dominated, winning 34 of 37 skirmishes between the two.
However, it’s a different story in ICC Cricket World Cups.
Both sides have met twice in World Cups, and each has won once.
The latest chapter is waiting to be written at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
South Africa headed into the clash on the back of consecutive victories against the West Indies and Pakistan, while Zimbabwe was winless in the tournament.
Put in to bat, Zimbabwe lost Wayne James early on.
Its problems compounded when Andy Flower retired hurt trying to cut Allan Donald.
Thereafter, Peter Kirsten’s off-breaks dismantled the middle order and Zimbabwe was bowled out for 163 in 48.3 overs.
Eddo Brandes’s 20 was the highest score of the innings.
Zimbabwe needed quick wickets early on, and Andrew Hudson’s dismissal gave the side early hope.
However, Kevin Duers dropped Kepler Wessels on 16, and it proved costly as he eventually scored 70, putting on 112 with Kirsten to propel the chase.
Ali Shah dismissed Wessels later on and Adrian Kuiper (7) followed suit, but Kirsten saw the chase through, ending unbeaten on 62 as South Africa won by seven wickets.
Heading into the match, South Africa was undefeated in the tournament, having beaten India, Sri Lanka, England and Kenya, and looked a well-oiled machine.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, was on a two-match losing streak, but you wouldn’t have known from the way it batted.
Neil Johnson launched a scathing attack on the South African bowlers, hitting ten fours on his way to a fifty.
Allan Donald put the breaks on the innings thereafter, dismissing Johnson (76) and running through the middle order as he returned 3 for 41.
Zimbabwe posted 233 for 6- a total that was competitive, but which South Africa would have backed itself to get.
However, Zimbabwe’s new-ball pair rattled the South African top order, with Johnson once again in the thick of things.
He had Gary Kirsten dismissed off the first ball of the innings, setting off an implosion.
Herschelle Gibbs (9), Mark Boucher (8), Jacques Kallis (0), Hansie Cronje (4) and Jonty Rhodes (5), all fell in quick succession as South Africa was reduced to 40 for 6, with Johnson picking up three wickets.
Daryll Cullinan (29), Shaun Pollock (52) and Lance Klusener (52*) attempted a late fightback, but Pollock’s dismissal by Andy Whittall proved decisive, as South Africa was bowled out for 185 and Zimbabwe won by 48 runs.
It was its first victory over South Africa at any level.
That win, coupled with a three-run thriller against India, put Zimbabwe in the Super Sixes, the first time it had gone past the first round in a World Cup.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN #CWC2015
South Africa is one of the favourites to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
It possesses a star-studded line-up, with the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn, all capable of single-handedly wining a match.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, had a poor tournament in Bangladesh recently, but has a well-balanced squad and a vastly experienced coach in Dav Whatmore, and is expected to punch above its weight.
The neighbours take each other on in their tournament opener in Hamilton on February 15 – a crucial clash, not just because victory is important in setting the tempo of their respective campaigns, but also because of how thin margins can be at the end of the league phase if a couple of results have not gone your way.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022