PAARL: After being set a target of 229 from 50 overs, South Africa ended on 231 for six with half-centuries from opener Reeza Hendricks and man of the match Heinrich Klaasen.
However, the platform for the chase was set up with an opening stand of 75 from 78 balls between Hendricks and Aiden Markram, who blitzed 42 from 39 balls with seven boundaries before being given out leg before off an inside edge.
Faf du Plessis’s re-entry into the side since injuring his shoulder, looked enterprising before Craig Ervine took a brilliant catch off the bowling of Brandon Mavuta (10-0-44-1) at short mid-wicket to dismiss the captain for 26 from 25 balls. JP Duminy failed to impress, being well-caught in the deep by Mavuta off Donald Tiripano (9-0-35-2) for just a single.
Klaasen looked to be guiding the home side to victory along with Khaya Zondo, who ended unbeaten on 25, but tried to pull a short, slower ball from Kyle Jarvis (9-0-40-1) to the boundary only to find Hamilton Masakadza standing at mid-wicket. Klaasen struck six boundaries and a six while sharing in a stand of 66 for the fifth wicket from 73 balls with Zondo.
Andile Phehlukwayo edged Tendai Chatara (7.5-0-58-1) to Brendan Taylor behind the stumps without scoring with the Proteas needing just two runs to win. But Dale Steyn (4 not out) kept his composure and struck the ball down the ground for the winning rungs.
Zimbabwe, who had won the toss and elected to bat first, were bowled out for 228 in 49.3 overs with Steyn (9.3-1-29-3) and Kagiso Rabada (10-1-32-3) doing most of the damage.
The visitors had slipped to 44 for three with Solomon Mire (7), Ervine (0) and Masakadza (28) back in the hut. Mire was cleaned-up by man of the series Imran Tahir (10-1-44-2) while Ervine and Masakadza were caught behind by Klaasen off Steyn and Rabada respectively.
Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor rescued their side with a wonderful partnership of 73 from 94 deliveries but when Taylor departed, brilliantly stumped by Klaasen off Tahir for 40 from 44 balls, the visitors wobbled with Peter Moor (10) and Elton Chigumbura (9) offering little to the cause.
Tiripano looked confident in boosting the total a bit with five boundaries from 37 balls before being caught by Du Plessis off Steyn. Mavuta (18) struck two fours while Jarvis (8) managed just one boundary.
South Africa and Zimbabwe will now contest a three-match T20 series beginning on Tuesday, 9 October 2018.