South Africa's tri-series in Zimbabwe has been the perfect "box-ticking" exercise. While it sounds like marketing speak, South Africa are learning all the right lessons as their World Cup preparation continues to accelerate.
When sportspeople are quizzed about what exactly they want to gain from what may seem like meaningless matches, they always mention "ticking certain boxes". On the surface, it sounds shallow, but there is actually method to this madness.
All one-day games right now are being played with the agenda of the World Cup in mind. Even if the opposition is mediocre, testing the team's ability to respond to different match situations is important.
South Africa have ticked quite a few boxes during the tri-series. They have chased down a massive total in clinical fashion and they have defended a low total after a discombobulating batting performance. With the former, the team threw the proverbial monkey off their back. With their chasing having been so poor in recent times, it was an important box to tick. The latter - the collapse and the subsequent defence - wasn't so much a pressure release as rather a simple relief.
The match against Zimbabwe on Friday offered another...