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HAMBANTOTA: Spare a thought for followers of Zimbabwean cricket. A two-year wait for an open tournament and their campaign ends even before other teams have played a match.
After being bamboozled by the spin of the Mendis duo against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe were resoundingly thrashed by ten wickets by title contenders South Africa in their second game at Hambantota on Thursday. Thus ended the campaign of Africa's lesser team.
For the continent's primary cricket outfit, pace did the trick after AB de Villiers elected to bowl on a wicket with some refreshing bounce and carry. Jacques Kallis led South Africa's four-pronged seam battery with his best ever Twenty20 International figures of 4-15 as Zimbabwe just about managed to last out their quota of 20, finishing on an uninspiring 93-8, thanks to Craig Ervine's 37. Fast bowling accounted for all the eight wickets to fall.
South Africa's reply was as emphatic as it was expected to be - an attacking 94-run opening partnership between Richard Levi (50*) and Hashim Amla (32*) taking them home in a canter in 12.4 overs. Levi struck six boundaries in his 43-ball knock, while Amla was slightly more cautious, finding the fence three times as Zimbabwe struggled to test the dangerous opening pair.
Earlier, after Dale Steyn turned in a scathing opening spell, conceding just two runs in two overs, the brothers Morkel conspired to remove Zimbabwe's top three. At 17 for 3 an early break looked likely, but Zimbabwe dug in through Ervine, who scored four of the six boundaries that were hit.
If it was spin that had caused their downfall against Lanka, it was the turn of pace this time. Steyn wobbled in the air, Morne Morkel reared up, before Kallis' variations landed the fell blow on the inning's spine.
Vusi Sibanda was bowled by Morne Morkel, while skipper Brendan Taylor edged behind to de Villiers. Hamilton Masakadza lofted Albie Morkel to Levi at mid-on.
Ervine and Stuart Matiskenyeri added 35 but then it was time for Kallis to get into the act. Matsikenyeri struck him straight to extra cover and Elton Chigumbura was trapped plumb in front. Graeme Cremer tried to hook the South African veteran but gloved behind.
de Villiers then dove spectacularly to his left to curtail Prosper Utseya 's innings off Steyn and Ervine was the lone man to stage a fight. He was finally out when he too edged to give de Villiers his fourth catch of the innings and Kallis his fourth victim. Zimbabwe managed to last 20 overs, but gained precious little in terms of runs.
South Africa send Zimbabwe out of World Cup
Kallis, Levi set up resounding ten-wicket win.Yahoo! Cricket – Thu 20 Sep, 2012 10:34 PM IST
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