Little relevance in third ODI between SA‚ Zim

05 October 2018 - 15:04 By Telford Vice
Keshav Maharaj (2nd R) of South Africa celebrates the wicket of Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka (not in picture) with team mates during the 4th ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on August 08, 2018 in Pallekele, Sri Lanka.
Keshav Maharaj (2nd R) of South Africa celebrates the wicket of Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka (not in picture) with team mates during the 4th ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on August 08, 2018 in Pallekele, Sri Lanka.
Image: Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images

If ever a story should never have been written‚ this is it. So much so that the only relevant words among the 354 it comprises are these: Khaya Zondo‚ Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj.

They have yet to get a game in South Africa’s already decided one-day series against Zimbabwe‚ and should be given an opportunity in the last match in Paarl on Saturday.

Not that it will be much of an opportunity‚ because the Zimbabweans have been among the worst performing sides ever to tour South Africa.

Perhaps that’s to be expected for a team from a troubled society.

Zimbabwe do not want for talented players‚ but those players have to find ways to forge their careers in a country with a shattered economy after years of government corruption.

And cricketers are part of the privileged classes in a country that has been on its knees for too long to simply get up now that Robert Mugabe has been removed.

In their most recent disaster‚ in Bloemfontein on Wednesday‚ Zimbabwe dismissed South Africa for 198 and still lost by 120 runs.

That marked only the sixth time in their 596 ODIs that South Africa have won after being bowled out for 198 or fewer‚ and never has their victory been achieved by anywhere near that many runs.

Their win over Pakistan‚ in December in 2002‚ is the next biggest: by 62 runs.

Zimbabwe’s lowly status is confirmed by the fact that nothing less than a 3-0 hiding will allow South Africa to retain their fourth place in the rankings.

Things could get worse‚ what with the Zimbos staying on for three T20s.

Theoretically‚ the shorter the format the greater the chance of the lesser team being able to fake their competitiveness.

But such is Zimbabwe’s poverty of form and confidence it’s doubtful they will put up a better fight in those games than they have in the ODIs.

We’ll find out in East London on Tuesday‚ Potchefstroom on Friday and Benoni on Sunday.

Then‚ mercifully for all concerned‚ they can go home.

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