Wayne Parnell spearheaded a much improved South Africa attack as they defeated Zimbabwe by six wickets Saturday in the final mini-league match at a non-cap Twenty20 tri-nations tournament.
Zimbabwe failed to build on a bright start in perfect mid-winter conditions at Harare Sports Club and made only 124-6 off 20 overs while South Africa reached 130-4 with 14 balls to spare.
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh finished with eight points each after two wins and two losses and the Asian Tigers were eliminated as they had the poorest net run rate.
So South Africa and Zimbabwe clash at the same venue Sunday for the third time within five days with each team having beaten the other in a warm-up tournament for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka during September and October.
Parnell put a poor start to this week behind him with figures of 3-16 off four overs, including a maiden, and his first victim was Zimbabwe danger man Hamilton Masakadza (36) before a big, lively crowd.
Leading tournament run getter Masakadza struck a half-volley into the covers where Farhaan Behardien took a low catch off the first ball of a crucial eighth over.
A couple of balls later and Parnell struck again with Malcolm Waller out for a duck in his first appearance of the week after edging the second ball he faced to wicketkeeper Dane Vilas.
Unbeaten Graeme Cremer (36) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (22) helped lift Zimbabwe to 124 runs on a slow, gripping and turning wicket, but it was never going to be enough, bar a South African collapse.
Big hitter Richard Levi got the Proteas off to the perfect start with 54 runs off 30 balls — including four sixes and four fours — and the dismissal of captain Hashim Amla for a duck hardly affected the run chase.
Justin Ontong (24) and Behardien (19 not out) scored many of the runs that ensured no shocks this time for a South African team beaten by Zimbabwe and Bangladesh during the week.
A six from Albie Morkel won the match and a South African team missing rested stars AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn and injured Johan Botha will start favourites to win the final. — Sapa.