SOUTH Africa followed up their heroic Tri-Nations 2013 cup final win over England by thumping Zimbabwe 64- 36 in their first match of the Diamond Challenge international netball series in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Zimbabwe, who went into the clash buoyed by their historic first win over arch-rivals Zambia on Sunday night, were just not in the same league as their hosts.
The gap in class was evident from the start as South Africa outscored their northern neighbours in each of the four quarters to underline their status as the best team in Africa, even if the International Association of Netball Federations rankings doesn't concur.
"We were beaten by a better team," Zimbabwe coach Ledwine Dondo admitted after the game, while their captain, Perpetua Siachitema, stated that "the South Africans play much faster than us."
Proteas coach Elize Kotze and technical coach Elsje Jordaan could not have asked for a better performance as the invitational team, who had been together for less than a week, dominated all facets of the game.
They were a more organised team playing at a much higher tempo from the start.
The Zimbabweans as usual, maybe even predictably so, employed their slower more patient build up even moving the ball back to half way when on the verge of the goal mouth.
This allowed South Africa opportunities to turn over the ball and punish with goal shooters Dumisani Chauke and Lindie Lombard on song to lead 13-7 after the first quarter. Lombard would go on to clinch the deserved Vital Player of the Match.