Needing 310 to win, Zimbabwe stutters to 216 in 49.5 overs
An unbeaten 132-ball 122 from Hashim Amla helped South Africa clinch the first One-Day International (ODI) of the three-match series against Zimbabwe on Sunday (August 17) by 93 runs.
Amla, who scored his 15th ODI century, first put on 109 with Quinton de Kock for the first wicket and then added 123 for the second wicket in 21.3 overs with Faf du Plessis to help South Africa post 309 for 3 in its 50 overs. Zimbabwe were bowled out for 216 in the final over.
De Kock, who has converted each of his half-centuries into a century in the past, was dismissed for 63 when he mishit John Nyumbu, the offspinner making his ODI debut, for 63 and was caught by Brendan Taylor. De Kock raced to his half-century off 42 balls, smashing eight fours and a six along the way.
Du Plessis started cautiously as the Zimbabwe bowlers stemmed the flow of runs. However, both du Plessis and Amla attacked the bowlers in the batting Power Play, scoring 40 runs off the five overs.
Although du Plessis sliced a Nyumbu delivery to extra cover to depart for 59 soon after, Amla reached his third century in four matches to keep South Africa on course for a big total.
AB de Villiers and JP Duminy (22 n.o.) scored some quick runs and helped the visitors cross the 300-run mark. Duminy added 34 runs in three overs with Amla.
With targets above 300 successfully chased at the Queens Sports Club in recent years, Zimbabwe needed a solid start. However, Wayne Parnell dismissed Vusi Sibanda for seven in fourth over to give South Africa its first breakthrough. Zimbabawe was further reduced to 34 for 3 in 11 overs.
Although Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams brought the innings back on track with a 100-run stand for the fourth wicket, Parnell snuffed it out when he dismissed Masakadza for 61.
Imran Tahir then dismissed Williams for 51 to end any hopes of a Zimbabwe win. Aaron Phangiso and Tahir then cleaned up the tail to complete a convincing with for South Africa.
The second ODI will be played on Wednesday at the same venue.