South Africa won by 72 runs
A rusty New Zealand were no match to the efficient South Africans in Mount Maunganui’s debut ODI on Tuesday. A fine 99 from wicket-keeper batsman, Luke Ronchi, helped New Zealand finish with 230 all-out. That score wasn’t enough though, with AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, adding an unbeaten 139-run stand for the fifth wicket to seal victory. The two teams face-off once again at the same venue. A win will help South Africa clinch the series. On the other hand, New Zealand must play out of their skins to take this to the decider in Hamilton.
New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first. They opted brought in McClenaghan and Southee in the playing XI, with Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills missing out. RSA brought in David Miller for Ryan McLaren.
Asked to bat first, South Africa made a decent start with the openers starting cautiously before opening up. Hashim Amla managed to benefit from a couple of close chances, but he ensured he put a prize on his wicket and helped their side get past the 50-run mark.
In the 13th over, however, Mitchell McCleneghan struck to dismiss Quinton de Kock for 26 and give the hosts their first wicket.
Faf du Plessis turned out to be the perfect partner for Hashim Amla, as the duo slammed their respective fifties to take RSA close to 150.
However, New Zealand struck against the run of play as Jimmy Neesham got du Plessis to edge behind in the batting powerplay. The right-hander departed after having amassed 113 runs for the 2nd wicket.
As one would expect with Ab de Villiers, the right-hander started his innings on a busy note and was soon scoring freely. Hashim Amla too was batting beautifully and reached the 90s.
AB de Villiers was out caught behind to Tim Southee just when South Africa would have liked him to kick on. However, Hashim Amla continued with his purple patch and brought up his 16th ODI hundred as South Africa went past the 250-run mark.
Amla, however, could not continue to punish the hosts as he was out bowled soon after reaching his hundred.
South Africa lost the wickets of JP Duminy and Rilee Russouw off consecutive deliveries to dent their chances of getting in excess of 300.
They continued to lose wickets at regular intervals – scoring just 23 runs in their last five overs, while also losing 5 wickets – and ended with a total of 282/9.
Would you believe it? AB de Villiers!
One of the greatest fielders to ever grace the game, got into a terrible mix-up while trying to take a catch to dismiss Martin Guptill and ended up clanging what-would-have-been an easy catch.
The drop did not prove to be too costly, however, as Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham departed in quick succession soon after to leave their side in trouble at 29/2.
Latham and Brownlie followed Guptill and Neesham back into the hut as NZ slipped to 65/4. Ab de Villiers picked up the wicket of Tom Latham while Dale Steyn cleaned up Brownlie to leave the hosts in tatters.
Corey Anderson too followed soon after, failing to trouble the scorers much, as New Zealand slid towards a massive defeat.
It has been a clinical performance from the South Africans. They never let the New Zealand batsmen to settle down and get the momentum to chase down the target. Guptill and Neesham could not provide the start that their team would have hoped for. Latham, Brownlie and McCullum all got starts, but none could convert it into a big score. Ronchi once again was the standout with the bat. The wicket-keeper showed immense application and was not afraid to play his shot. McClenaghan supported him well and the pair added 76 runs for the last wicket.