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Ntini routs Zimbabwe

July 10, 2003 22:55 IST


Makhaya Ntini took four wickets, including three with his first 10 balls, as South Africa crushed Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the final game of a one-day triangular series on Thursday.

The 'dead rubber' encounter, the first international fixture to be staged at Southampton's Rose Bowl, never suggested an upset after Zimbabwe slumped to 18 for three within four overs after opting to bat.

They managed to eke out 173 for eight, then hit back through seamer Douglas Hondo, who removed Herschelle Gibbs, playing on, and Martin van Jaarsveld, well snaffled by diving wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu, with just eight runs on the board.

But Graeme Smith and fellow left-hander Jacques Rudolph, who put on 137 for the third wicket, quickly underlined the gulf in class as they scored at will against a pop-gun attack.

Skipper Smith scored a huge proportion of his 69 runs on the leg side to register a ninth one-day international century before he departed to make it 145 for three, lashing out lazily to point at a wide delivery from Travis Friend.

The more textbook Rudolph was happy to rotate the strike before reaching his third half-century, ending on 69 not out. Mark Boucher ended the match 14.4 overs early with a lofted drive for four off spinner Raymond Price.

For Zimbabwe -- already deprived of a place in Saturday's final at Lord's and who only managed one win, against England, in six matches -- there was little to celebrate apart from an obdurate 50 not out from skipper Heath Streak.

Ntini, moving the ball appreciably off the seam at a lively pace, removed Grant Flower (one), Travis Friend (four) and Tatenda Taibu for a golden duck to all but kill off the contest before it had begun.

The first wicket told the full story as Flower attempted to leave a wide delivery but failed. The ball nipped back and took an edge on the way into Boucher's gloves.


Taibu's one-ball stay was just as hapless. He also decided to offer no stroke and saw Ntini's delivery bite back into his unprotected stumps.

There was barely a shot to savour, although left-hander Sean Ervine did whip Shaun Pollock off his stumps through mid-wicket before driving Ntini off the back foot for four.

He was to be Ntini's fourth victim, prodding at a ball angled across him and walking when Pollock claimed a superb one-handed catch low to his right at third slip. Ntini finished with four for 45.

From 74 for six, Zimbabwe, shorn of a string of their best players after the World Cup, were left seeking respectability.

Streak and Richard Sims, who made 24 before giving Pollock his one success, limped along at two runs an over before Price also chipped in late on during a 44-run partnership with his captain.

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