South Africa crush Zimbabwe to seal ODI series

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By Associated Press

Zimbabwe struggled with the uneven bounce

BLOEMFONTEIN: Fast bowler Dale Steyn starred with the bat more than the ball on his return to one-day internationals for the first time in two years as South Africa beat Zimbabwe by 120 runs in the second game on Wednesday to win their series with one to play.

Instead, it was legspinner Imran Tahir who was South Africa’s bowling hero, taking a hat trick and four wickets in six balls in his 6-24 as Zimbabwe was bowled out for 78 chasing the home team’s 198 all out.

Steyn hit a maiden half-century, finishing with 60 to rescue South Africa from a precarious 101-7 batting first. Steyn was aided by Andile Phehlukwayo, who added 28 as the lower-order pair put on a 75-run partnership for the eighth wicket.

Having recovered to post a competitive total, South Africa bowled Zimbabwe out for its paltry 78 in 24 overs for a convincing win. Steyn played the support role with the ball with 2-19 to back up Tahir.

South Africa leads the three-match series 2-0. South Africa won the first ODI by five wickets, although it also had a batting hiccup in that match when it was 96-5 before chasing down Zimbabwe’s 117 all out.

The 35-year-old Steyn hadn’t played an ODI since a series against Australia in October 2016, with his career interrupted by a series of shoulder injuries and a foot problem.

His 60 from 85 balls with eight fours and a six was his first half-century in 117 ODIs stretching back to 2005. Steyn’s previous best batting score was 35.

The 39-year-old Tahir was just the fourth South African to take an ODI hat trick and his performance justified his pre-match comments this week that he doesn’t feel ready to retire and is still targeting playing at next year’s World Cup, when he will be 40.