Proteas learn some lessons
South Africa captain Hashim Amla was disappointed to lose Sunday's unofficial Twenty20 final to Zimbabwe, but acknowledged the whole tri-series was a successful exercise in selection.
Eager to test different combinations ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, the Proteas went to Harare without the services of the experienced Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Vilas and seamer Wayne Parnell were subsequently afforded extended runs in the XI, while seamer Chris Morris enjoyed a tidy debut tour and Marchant de Lange picked up where he left off in the Indian Premier League.
Colin Ingram and Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, swapped the number-three batting berth with relatively successful regularity, and Farhaan Behardien found a temporary home in the middle order.
"It's quite disappointing but hats off to Zimbabwe, they deserved to win. We knew what the squad for Sri Lanka will be, this is a good indicator for the selectors," said Amla, who is leading the side in the absence of the injured Johan Botha and rested de Villiers.
"It was challenging, similar to what we could expect in Sri Lanka, a worthy exercise and hopefully we walk away with some hard lessons learnt.
"While Zimbabwe were the better team on the day, we have learnt a lot regarding who should go to Sri Lanka and who should not."
Triumphant captain Brendan Taylor was pleased to have Zimbabwe's hard work pay off. Having restricted the opposition to 146 for six on Sunday, the home side responded with a resounding 150 for one on the back of half-centuries from Taylor and Masakadza.
"It's a huge feeling to beat a quality team. It shows us that we are heading in the right direction and we've been putting in the hard yards. We know we are a team that needs to put in a bit extra and we did," added Taylor.
Masakadza, on the back of four centuries in five matches, was named Player of the Series.
"I am ecstatic, over the moon. All the hard work is paying off. We just kept hanging in there and stayed calm," concluded Masakadza.