Sunday, February 17, 2019 06:41:18 AM
Arguably one of the best bowling units in this edition of the World Cup was made to look pedestrian by one of the most underrated batting line-ups in cricket. And still, South Africa were able to notch up a 62-run win against Zimbabwe on a day filled with the possibility of an upset.
At a picturesque Seddon Park on Sunday, South Africa, put in, rode on centuries from David Miller and JP Duminy to rise to 339 for 4 in their opening Pool B tie.
Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Masakadza made 64 and 80 respectively to give Zimbabwe some hope of a successful run chase. That Zimbabwe were on 214 for 4 from 36 overs would have concerned AB de Villiers, the South African skipper. But soon enough, his mates were able to get their act together in bowling Zimbabwe out for 277.
The victory a relief, South Africa will have plenty to take back to the drawing board to prepare for stiff challenges ahead. Coming into the tournament as top contenders for the crown, South Africa were expected to dictate terms, but that wasn't the case until Miller and Duminy came on.
Getting together at a precarious 83 for 4, the two added 256 runs in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership - the best ever for the fifth wicket in One-Day Internationals. The previous record was held by Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, who made 226 against Ireland in 2013.
Miller scored 138 from 92 balls with seven fours and nine hits over the fence. Duminy was the one playing second fiddle in the partnership, but even he picked up his scoring rate as the innings wore on, and ended with 115 from 100 balls with nine fours and three sixes.
Zimbabwe's bowling attack, which showed a lot of promise early in the innings when it sent back Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and de Villiers, fell away once Duminy and Miller took charge.
South Africa had taken 24.1 overs to score 100 runs and 40.2 overs to get to 200, but with Miller and Duminy calling the shots after that, the runs came quick. South Africa reached 300 from 47.5 overs, a feat made possible because Miller ripped Solomon Mire to shreds by taking him for 30 runs in the 48th over.