NatWest Series, Rose Bowl: South Africa 174-3 (35.2 overs) beat Zimbabwe 173-8 (50 overs) by
South Africa survived an early stumble to down Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the last NatWest Series group match, the first ever international at the Rose Bowl.
For South Africa it was an ideal warm-up for Saturday's final against England at Lord's, a match for which they qualified a week ago.
Zimbabwe's eighth loss in all forms of the game brought a low-key end to their 10-week tour of the British Isles.
Set just 174 for victory, South Africa lost two wickets in the first four overs, medium-pacer Doug Hondo taking both to leave them 8-2.
But skipper Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph shared partnership of 137 - a third wicket record against this opponent - to first steady the ship and then set up victory.
By the time Smith was caught at point for 69, his highest score of the series, off an over-confident hook his side were within 30 runs of victory.
Rudolph survived a drop at deep backward point late on to finish 69 not out, Mark Boucher striking the winning boundary with 15 overs to spare.
Zimbabwe's total marked a recovery after three wickets fell in the first four overs, all off the bowling of Makhaya Ntini on a pitch that offered excessive seam early on.
Ntini took three wickets in his first two overs
Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak lifted his side in their final match of a lengthy tour, completing his ninth one-day international half-century from the final ball, the 90th he faced.
All but two of the dismissals were caught either at wicket-keeper or slip, on a pitch with abundant seam movement that refuted Streak's decision to bat first.
The exceptions were Tatenda Taibu, bowled shouldering arms to Ntini first ball and Andy Blignaut, attempting a cavalier pull of unorthodox spinner Paul Adams.
Streak came to the crease with his side 74-6 in the 21st over and batted patiently, opening his shoulders only in the final few overstoi share an unbroken 42-run stand with Ray Price.
Ntini finished with 4-45 and fiery pace bowler Andre Nel gained two wickets as reward for eight early overs which saw just 14 runs conceded.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs,
Boeta Dippenaar, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Jacques
Rudolph, Paul Adams, Andrew Hall, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini,
Martin van Jaasveld.
Zimbabwe: Heath Streak (captain), Tatenda Taibu, Dion
Ebrahim, Grant Flower, Sean Ervine, Travis Friend, Andy
Blignaut, Ray Price, Richard Sims, Douglas Hondo, Stuart