Rassie van der Dussen emulated the performances of Graeme Smith and Rilee Rossouw in making a half-century on debut and then Imran Tahir took one of the fastest five-wicket hauls ever to set the Standard Bank Proteas up for a 34-run win over Zimbabwe with 14 balls left unbowled in the opening KFC T20 International match at Buffalo Park on Tuesday evening.

In the end the winning margin looked comfortable enough but it was very nearly a lot closer after Peter Moor hit four successive sixes off the last four balls of Tabraiz Shamsi’s final over and, with the aid of the promising Brandon Mavuta, took 43 runs off 10 balls in the 15th and 16th overs as the bowlers struggled with the dew factor.

Lungi Ngidi, who took a remarkable 1/7 in 3 overs, and Andile Phehlukwayo then closed the game down as Zimbabwe were left wondering what might have been.

As had been the case in the second Momentum ODI at the Mangaung Oval they put themselves in with a good chance when they again restricted the Proteas to a modest total, this time 160 on the back of Van der Dussen’s 56 off 44 balls (5 fours and a six). The debutant was involved in the only two notable partnerships of the innings of 41 for the third wicket with Faf du Plessis and 87 for the fourth with David Miller.

But once again none of Zimbabwe’s top five batsmen were able to bat through to the business end of the innings and it was left to Moor to attempt the near impossible with his innings of 44 (21 balls, 1 four and 5 sixes).

The match had looked over as a contest when Imran took five of the first six wickets to fall as Zimbabwe collapsed to 65/6. He completed his second five-wicket haul in the space of just 17 deliveries and twice took two wickets off successive balls to be on potential hat tricks. His tally also took him past Dale Steyn as South Africa’s leading wicket taker in this format and the first to reach 60 dismissals.

His final figures of 5/23 were South Africa’s joint second best alongside David Wiese with only Ryan McLaren (5/19) having done better.

Quinton de Kock also contributed significantly to the Proteas victory with two acrobatic catches behind the stumps.

Imran was named KFC Man of the Match.

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