Zimbabwe and South Africa play their final group game of the triangular series on Thursday with the host still in with a slim chance of making the final.
Venue: Harare Sports Club
Dates: Thursday, 4 September
Start time: 8:30 a.m. BST (9:30 a.m. local time, 3:30 a.m. ET)
TV and live stream: SuperSport (South Africa and Zimbabwe), PTV Sports (Pakistan), Ten Sports (India and others), Orbit Show Network (Middle East), Willow TV (USA).
Weather: AccuWeather.com predicts that it will be a cool and mild day. Temperatures will reach up to 21 degrees Celsius. While there is no chance of rain on Thursday, there is some forecast for the day after. Whether any of that rain decides to arrive a bit earlier will remain to be seen.
A week is a very long time in sport. Just a week ago, Zimbabwe looked like they were in complete disarray, and they now have an outside chance of still making the final of this tri-series. To do so, they will have to beat South Africa with a bonus point and give their net run-rate a big boost. While that might seem unlikely, the hosts have continuously gotten better as the series progressed.
After losing to Australia earlier in the week, South Africa are under pressure in what could turn out to be a knockout game. Everybody knows what South Africa’s relationship with knockouts are like, but it would take a capitulation of epic proportions for South Africa to mess this up.
They were exposed against Australia, with bowling at the death and the middle order of particular concern. However, Zimbabwe have been inconsistent, and while they might have pulled a fast one over the Aussies, it would take a tremendously special effort to achieve that sort of thing twice.
South Africa have all the talent in the world in their side, and they are unlikely to make any wholesale changes for this clash. They do have a few areas of concern, though. In particular, the long tail was exposed against Australia and will need a rethink heading towards the World Cup. For now, they have to make do with what they’ve got and hope that their top four don’t let them down.
Prosper Utseya has been Zimbabwe's key man with the ball for the whole series. He took a hat-trick against South Africa and contributed both with bat and ball when Zimbabwe beat Australia. With seven wickets at an average of 17.85 in the series, he is very much a key asset.
Faf du Plessis has made the No. 3 spot his own on this tour with 247 runs at an average of 82.33. His ability to adapt to whatever the match requires, either slow and steady as an anchor or more aggressive, is vital for South Africa, especially if the top order fumbles once again.
Hamilton Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (w/k), Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Elton Chigumbura (c), Luke Jongwe, Shingirai Masakadza, Prosper Utseya, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, John Nyumbu, Tendai Chatara
AB de Villiers (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (w/k), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn
All stats and quotes via ESPNCricinfo, unless otherwise stated
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