SA 'A' set up Aussie showdown
Craig Alexander (Gallo Images)
Harare - South Africa 'A' have defeated a Zimbabwe XI to set up a final with Australia 'A' in the Coca-Cola Triangular Challenge here.
SA 'A' won by 17-runs in the final match of the round-robin stage on Wednesday.
South Africa were sent in to bat in the must-win encounter, and posted a par 244 for eight in their 50 overs.
Rusty Theron fired at the top of the innings and at the back-end of the match to finish with impressive figures of four for 43 in 10 overs.
He dismissed both openers Vusi Sibanda (22) and Hamilton Masakadza (47), after they got off to a solid 66-run opening partnership.
Theron also claimed two wickets in his closing spell at the latter end of the match, which crippled the home-side's run-chase.
Craig Alexander was also excellent with the ball and finished with match figures of three for 38, including the final match-winning wicket of Brian Vitori (13), who had looked threatening.
Earlier, Man-of-the-Match Rilee Rossouw played a classy innings of 92 runs off 93 balls, and failed to break the century deadlock, which is a feat that no player has achieved throughout the competition.
It was a collective effort from the batsmen who all chipped in with small starts.
Jacques Rudolph (27) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (38) were the other top scorers for South Africa.
Brian Vitori (3/35) and Elton Chigumbura (2/38) were Zimbabwe's top wicket-takers of the match.
Rudolph is the leading run-scorer of the competition, and currently averages 54.75 with a total of 219 runs.
Alexander and Vernon Philander are South Africa's leading wicket-takers with eight wickets apiece.
Friday's game will be crucial for Rudolph and his men, as they go out to avoid a third consecutive defeat against the unbeaten Australian outfit.