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Smith pleased by Proteas recovery

South Africa captain Graeme Smith looked forward to the triangular series final with confidence after his side's victory on Thursday.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2003 00:45 IST

South Africa captain Graeme Smith looked forward to the triangular series final with confidence after his side beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets at The Rose Bowl here Thursday.

Although this was a 'dead' contest, with England and South Africa already qualified for Saturday's Lord's showpiece, the result was important to the Proteas after their four-wicket defeat by the hosts at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

"We did the basics right," said Smith, South Africa's joint top scorer with 69 as they chased a meagre 174 for victory and won with 14.4 overs to spare.

But the damage had been done earlier in the match when, after Zimbabwe won the toss, South Africa held them to a below par 173 for eight with fast bowler Makhaya Ntini taking four for 45.

"The first ball set the tone," said left-handed opener Smith. "Makhaya bowled brilliantly up front and I was pleased with our lengths."

But Smith, 22, South Africa's youngest ever captain, added: "There are always areas to brush up. There'll never be a perfect team."

And he said victory was the ideal way to prepare for Saturday.

"We wanted to put in a good performance today. Saturday is a big day for us. I'm sure there will be a few nerves."

This win left South Africa top of the standings but Smith said that was of little consequence. "It's nice to finish top but that's gone now. England are 2-1 up on us (in this series) but that's gone too."

The match was the first international ever staged at The Rose Bowl and Smith said: "It's a fantastic venue. I'm sure they'll have many more international games here."

First Published: Jul 11, 2003 00:45 IST