The Proteas attack bared its teeth without Imran Tahir as they secured an early T20 series win over Zimbabwe by virtue of a six-wicket triumph in Potchefstroom on Friday night.
Given how the veteran leg-spinner single-handedly destroyed the visitors earlier this week in East London with superb figures of 5/23, there were reservations that the rest of the bowlers might struggle without his input.
Those proved unfounded.
Two of South Africa’s four changes on the night, Dane Paterson and Rob Frylinck, played starring roles with the ball.
Cobras quick Paterson was typically bustling in claiming 2/22 in his four overs, illustrating again why he’s one of the better T20 exponents on the circuit.
But it was the burly Frylinck that strangled the Zimbabweans.
His nagging line led to the key wicket of Hamilton Masakadza (21), who took a liking in Lungi Ngidi (2/36) early on, and then delivered an immaculate spell.
Incidentally, Ngidi cameback reasonably well in his second spell.
However, the form of Tabraiz Shamsi (1/37) remains a headache.
Now the Proteas’ frontline spinner in the series after Tahir was released from the squad, he once again imploded.
The wrist spinner has shown better control in just conceding 13 runs from his first three overs but then conceded 24 in his last as Sean Williams (41), the mainstay of the visitors’ innings, took him apart after being dropped off the first delivery of the over.
South Africa’s reply didn’t featured any significant highlights but JP Duminy’s (33 off 26) experience helped calm nerves after they were reduced to 58/3.