Zimbabwe carved out an exciting last-ball victory over South Africa in the three-nation ODI Series at Durban on Wednesday night. Heath Streak got an inner-edge of a Jacques Kallis delivery and started for a run, and his partner Gary Brent responded enthusiastically. Wicket-keeper Mark Boucher could effect only a desperate throw that was wide off the mark. So Zimbabwe was through by two wickets. In the preliminary round of the World Cup 1999, Zimbabwe had earned a 48-run win over South Africa. And the triumph at Durban was only the second win over South Africa in Zimbabwe's history. With this victory, the race for top honours in this series took an interesting turn. South Africa, England and Zimbabwe show an identical record of "four matches and two wins each".
Against the varied South African attack of Shane Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Nantie Hayward and Henry Williams, Zimbabwe's victory target (223 in 50 overs) appeared tough. And when Zimbabwe lost six wickets for 107 runs in 28.3 overs, a cakewalk for the home team looked imminent. Then came a stout-hearted effort from Andy Flower (59 in 91 balls) and Guy Whittal (39). The pair added 91 runs by the 46th over, when Flower was brilliantly taken at gully by Jhonty Rhodes off Kallis. At 213, Whittal was beaten by an accurate throw from Gibbs. So Zimbabwe was left to make 10 runs in 10 balls. Streak and Brent, the brave ninth wicket pair, stuck it out to reach the target amidst excitement.
Earlier South Africa, after winning the toss, ran into trouble against some spirited bowling from Olonga, Johnson and Brent. From a pathetic looking 112 for six in 25 overs, the home team recovered to a respectable 222 for 7 in 50 overs mainly through the heroics of Kallis (52 in 96 balls) and Lance Klusener (65 not out in 84 balls). The two added 82 runs for the seventh wicket.