This is the forgotten match of February 15. Everybody is supposed to watch the cricket match at the Adelaide Oval on this Sunday: between India and Pakistan. Another pair of neighbours too lock horns at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on the same day. Not many people outside these countries care much about this match.
South Africa’s dominance
Unlike their subcontinental counterparts, South Africa and Zimbabwe have played rarely against each other. In 23 years since South Africa returned to international cricket, they have met just 37 times. Zimbabwe’s record is so poor that they may not even want to look at it. They have won just two matches against South Africa. The first win came in 1999 and the second in 2000.
It has been 15 years – and 26 matches – since Zimbabwe scored a win against South Africa. It is not likely to change on this Sunday. No teams are as dominant as South Africa in the group stages of world cups – not even Australia.
Players – South Africa
They have all the bases covered. Batting is a diverse mix of voracious run scorers: classy batsmen, hard-hitters, lower-order rescuers and AB de Villiers, who is a bit of all the above three.
Bowling is hostile and varied. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel can make the short boundaries in Hamilton look longer. And they field like super humans. If they lack anything, it is street smartness. Against Zimbabwe, you do not have to be too street smart.
Zimbabwe – Players
Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor are the mainstays in batting. Masakadza has cracked a fine hundred against Sri Lanka in a warm up match. Elton Chigumbura and Sean Williams are capable all-rounders. Still, it would be a herculean task for them to upset their mighty neighbours. Watch out for Williams’ reverse sweeps. He is the true heir of Andy Flower in this regard.
There is no doubt that South Africa will win this match. The only doubt about this match is that which of the South African batsmen will score a century: Hashim Amla or Quinton de Kock?
South Africa Squad: AB de Villiers (c), Hashim Amla (vc), Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn
Zimbabwe Squad: Elton Chigumbura (c), Regis Chakabva (wk), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (wk),
Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams
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