Zimbabwe XI – 114 all out in 19.5 overs (Takudzwanashe Kaitano 20, Sikandar Raza 16, Milton Shumba 13; Glenton Stuurman 3/18, Bjorn Fortuin 2/17, Gerald Coetzee 2/26)
South Africa A – 115-5 in 17.4 overs (Tristan Stubbs 39*, Khaya Zondo 23, Reeza Hendricks 13; Tanaka Chivanga 2/11, Tendai Chatara 1/14, Sikandar Raza 1/26)
South Africa won by five wickets
Zimbabwe XI suffered a five-wicket defeat at the hands of South Africa A in the first T20 match between the two sides played at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
The tourists won the toss and put the home side in to bat.
The innings did not start too badly, with Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Wessly Madhevere scoring 17 together, the latter swinging a ball from Bjorn Fortuin over long leg for six in the third over.
Later in the same over, however, he drove a hard return catch which the bowler held well and was out for 10, making it 17 for one wicket.
Kaitano played an aggressive game that succeeded for a while, but Craig Ervine struggled for 10 balls, scoring only a single until he lashed out at a full-length delivery from Lizaad Williams and was bowled at 40 for two.
Two runs later, Kaitano miscued a swing to leg off Gerald Coetzee and was caught at long leg for 20, which took him only 15 balls and included a six and two fours – this was to be the highest individual score of the innings.
There followed a useful partnership between Sikandar Raza and Milton Shumba, who took the score to 71 together off 10 overs.
However, at that point Raza was trapped lbw by Jason Smith for 16.
Two balls later, Shumba (13) joined those to be caught near the long-leg boundary off the bowling of Fortuin, and at 71 for five the slide was on.
Ryan Burl was caught at long-on off Reeza Hendricks for five, followed by Richmond Mutumbami (10), caught at backward point off Glenton Stuurman to make the score 91 for seven.
Wellington Masakadza and Tendai Chatara both went for five, and only the last pair managed to take the score past 100.
Ernest Masuku (8) pulled a six off Coetzee in the final over, but was bowled by a yorker next ball to end the innings for a total of 114.
Every batter scored at least one run, five reached double figures, but not one went beyond 20.
Stuurman took three lower-order wickets for 18 runs, while Fortuin grabbed two for 17 and Coetzee two for 26.
The South Africans had plenty of time to win the match, but it was not plain sailing for them at all as the Zimbabweans put up a spirited fight trying to defend their low total.
Their first wicket fell at 18, when Masakadza pushed a delivery through to bowl Hendricks for 13, off eight balls, in the third over.
At 40, Raza brought himself on to bowl and off his third delivery Wihan Lubbe (12 off nine balls) drove a low catch that was well held by Ryan Burl at mid-on.
The score became 42 for three in the sixth over as Chatara bowled a fine delivery that moved in and bowled out Lesiba Ngoepe, who had hit three fours in scoring 13 off 12 balls.
Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen decided on a more restrained game and played the bowling on its merits, while the Zimbabwean bowlers did a fine job in giving them little to score from easily.
After scoring six off 16 balls, Klaasen pulled a short ball from Tanaka Chivanga straight to midwicket where Ervine held the catch, to make the score 55 for four in the 10th over.
The scores were level when Khaya Zondo, trying to hit Chivanga back over his head for the winning four, instead skyed a catch that was held by Masuku running over from mid-off – his score was 23.
Stubbs, finishing with a well-judged 39 not out, scored the winning runs two balls later.
Chivanga had the best bowling figures of two for 11 in 2.4 overs, while Chatara bowled very well for one for 14 in three overs.
The next T20 match between Zimbabwe XI and South Africa A is scheduled for Wednesday at the same venue, starting at 1pm local time.