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Blazing Boucher propels SA to series victory

Boucher blasted the second-fastest ton of all time to help SA beat Zimbabwe by 171-run win.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2006 17:22 IST

Mark Boucher blasted a 44-ball century as South Africa went on a scoring spree to gain a 171-run win in the third and final one-day international against Zimbabwe at Sedgars Park.

Boucher finished with 147 not out off 68 balls as South Africa reached 418 for five, only the fourth time 400 has been made in a one-day international - and the third time in four matches involving South Africa.

South Africa restricted Zimbabwe to 247 for four in reply, completing a 3-0 series sweep.

Boucher's century on Wednesdaywas the second-fastest of all time, behind Shahid Afridi's hundred off 37 balls for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.

South Africa took advantage of winning the toss for the first time in the series and batting in ideal conditions. But they fell short of regaining the world record, which they set when they made 438 for nine in an astonishing run chase against Australia's 434 for four in Johannesburg last March, only for Sri Lanka to better their mark with 443 for nine against Holland in Amstelveen in July.

"We were targeting the world record but we lost our way a little in the middle when (Justin) Kemp got out," said Boucher, who paid tribute to relative newcomers Loots Bosman and Alviro Petersen, who put on 160 off 126 balls for the first wicket.

"After the foundation they set for us, we could just go out and play our natural games," said Boucher. "Loots and Alviro both put bowlers under pressure."

Bosman, in his third match, hit 88 off 70 balls before being stumped off debutant leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi, while Petersen, in his second international, made 80 off 74 deliveries.

Captain Jacques Kallis made 50 and Boucher, promoted to number four, rode his luck with some powerful strokeplay. He was dropped on the midwicket boundary on seven and at cover on 59 before reaching his maiden one-day international century in his 220th match.

He was dropped three more times after reaching his century as he virtually tried to hit every ball out of the ground in a frantic end to the innings. He hit ten sixes and eight fours.

"It was my night tonight. I was dropped a couple of times and rode my luck. The deck was really good," said Boucher.

Despite being hit for 70 runs in his ten overs, Kamungozi bowled well in the circumstances, taking the wickets of Bosman and Justin Kemp, who was also stumped when he went for a big hit.

Although Zimbabwe were never remotely on target to challenge the South African total, they were able to bat out the 50 overs without any difficulty.

Left-handed opening batsman Terry Duffin made a dogged, career-best 88 off 134 balls and shared partnerships of 94 for the second wicket with Justice Chibhabha (46) and 103 for the third with Hamilton Masakadza (55).

Masakadza provided the most enterprising batting of the innings, scoring his runs off 53 balls.

Australian umpire Daryl Harper stood in the match despite hearing earlier on Wednesday that his mother had died in Australia.

First Published: Sep 21, 2006 10:49 IST