Ngidi on song but Proteas labour to ODI win over Zimbabwe

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Lungi Ngidi continued the impressive start to his international career by spearheading the Proteas to a five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the opening game of the three-match ODI series Kimberley on Sunday.

In a low-scoring match Ngidi picked up the man of the match award for his figures of 3/19 in 8.1 overs as Zimbabwe were bundled out for their lowest total against South Africa of 117 after being sent into bat on a pitch of inconsistent bounce that was exploited by the seam bowlers on both sides.

In addition, there was purchase available for the spinners who also got into the wickets column.

The Zimbabwe innings lasted only 34.1 overs while the Proteas needed just 26.1 overs to complete their victory chase.

The hosts made somewhat heavy weather of the run-chase as they were five wickets down when the winning were scored in the 27th over.

Heinrich Klaasen easily made the top-score of the game with a career best 44 while opening batsman Aiden Markram made his way to 27 before he disappointingly giving his wicket away.

Proteas stand-in captain JP Duminy (16 not out), who went past 5000 ODI runs in the process, and allrounder Wian Mulder (14 not out) were at the crease when the winning runs were scored.

The Zimbabwe batsmen were not able to cope with the new ball menace that Ngidi and fellow quick Kagiso Rabada (2-34) provided and they, in turn, were well backed up by Andile Phehlukwayo (2-22) and Mulder (1-19).

There was also an impressive showing from Imran Tahir (2-23) who looks to have added further variation to his already formidable arsenal.

When the Proteas batted, they were also tested by the Zimbabwe seamers, the best of whom was Tendai Chatara who had a single spell of 2/12 in 6 overs. The conditions were hardly ideal for the aggressive brand of batting the Proteas are endeavouring to produce.

The second match takes place at Bloemfontein’s Mangaung Oval on Wednesday and the final one at Boland Park on Saturday.