South Africa thrash Zimbabwe in first T20

Bloemfontein: South Africa brushed aside a spirited challenge from Zimbabwe to win the inaugural Twenty20 international between the two neighbours by seven wickets with 25 balls to spare.

Hamilton Masakadza (72) and Chamu Chibhabha (52) led the tourists to a competitive total of 168 for four before an opening stand of 90 in just seven overs between Graeme Smith and Loots Boman effectively ended the contest.

Chibhabha`s half-century from 29 balls was the fastest by a Zimbabwean in T20 cricket. Zimbabwe batting coach Grant Flower, who is making a comeback to international cricket at the age of 39, was marooned in Harare because of visa problems.

Smith, who has relinquished the T20 captaincy to Johan Botha, revelled in his newfound freedom by smashing 58 from 29 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes while Bosman blasted 33 from 15 balls with two fours and three sixes.

The Proteas suffered the briefest of wobbles when experienced off-spinner Prosper Utseya claimed two quick wickets, including that of debutant Colin Ingram for three.

JP Duminy (35 not out) and David Miller (36 not out) calmly finished the job with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 70.

The second T20 international is scheduled for Kimberley on Sunday followed by three one-day internationals.

Scores:

Zimbabwe 168 for four off 20 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 72, Chamu Chibhabha 52; Wayne Parnell 2-29). South Africa 169-3 off 15.5 overs (Graeme Smith 58; Prosper Utseya 2-41)

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