Finally, FINALLY, we’ve reached the end of the ODI Triangular series or whatever it’s called. ICC2 is a great game but the scheduling of this is annoying. We’ve been in South Africa since November so now, as the calendar says February, the end is here.

First though it’s the dead rubber, against Zimbabwe.

Looks like a good batting pitch to me.

One change, Gough for DeFreitas. Zimbabwe bring back Carlisle at the top of the order. Zimbabwe win the toss and put us in, I would have batted anyway to be honest but maybe I was wrong to think that.

It looks like a bad toss to lose when Lathwell is bowled for 1 and Stewart edges behind in the next over. We’ve batted quite well in the top order this series so this is an unusual situation for us. Atherton and Hollioake begin to rebuild the innings and it’s going very well. Until they try pushing the run rate and Atherton runs himself out going for a quick single. Darn. 101/3 with just over half of our innings gone is a bit average, especially as Hollioake is run out for 55. Thorpe and Habib are able to rebuild. Another good partnership that ends with a run out though when Habib is hopelessly short of his ground on 32. Ramprakash and Thorpe once again apply the acceleration at the end of the innings and 246 will have to do after a slow start.

Zimbabwe will count themselves unfortunate not to have beaten us so far after a couple of narrow defeats and Grant Flower is having a field day in the early stages until Gough clears him up for 22. Carlisle and Goodwin bat beautifully though until eventually Gough accounts for Goodwin’s off stump with the score at 137/2. Needing to turn the screw Hollioake finds Carlisle’s edge, before Campbell is plum LBW to Gough, reducing them to 153/4. Andy Flower steadies the ship though and even once Bulbeck removes Johnson for 13, Whittall joins Flower in clouting us around and we fall to a 5 wicket defeat. Terrible, really.

I’m pleased that counted for nothing as it’s atrocious.

Confirmation of the table:

To the final then and it’s a pitch that looks like it might take some spin later on, if we win the toss I’d like to bat I think.

Tuffers is in for Lathwell, I’ll probably regret that but I wanted a spinner or at least a sixth bowling option. No Donald, Benks or Liebenberg for them, which is the greatest news of all.

Stewart’s tour ends abruptly. He’s out without scoring but Atherton and Hollioake are able to prod the scoreboard along with a 50 partnership. DeVilliers is very difficult to get away and whilst we aren’t losing wickets, the runs aren’t flowing. Atherton and Hollioake are both bowled by Schulz and we set about attacking Pryke, which works until Thorpe edges him behind. 134/4 and Ramprakash, who has been invaluable at the end of an innings, takes over with Habib and a 100 partnership is just what we needed. 236/4 seems a bit short but hopefully that pitch will start to rip up.

Gough and Headley come out firing and Headley bowls Kirsten in his first over. Good man. Stewart edges behind for just 4 and at 7/2, we’re buzzing. That’s really as good as it gets though as Cronje and Kallis serenely carve us apart; Wells desperately trying to keep control and Hollioake getting nowhere close. Eventually it’s time for the spin of Tuffers and it’s hopeless. Even when Bulbeck gets Kallis for 65 the score is 117/3 and unless we can strike quickly this will get away from us. We take no further wickets and Ackerman, who started our tour by scoring 300, hits the winning runs. A poor end to an annoying tournament.

Talk about failing with style. All the good work of the last 3 months undone by a poor last couple of games. Oh well.

Final confirmation, for fun.

I’m just pleased it’s over with. For fans of playing the same team more times, we’re off to Zimbabwe for four ODIs. Give me strength.