TELFORD VICE at Eden Park
A high quality bowling and fielding performance and a half-century by Faf du Plessis earned South Africa the honours in their one-day series against New Zealand on Saturday.
New Zealand, who were put into bat, crumbled to a total of 149 in 41.1 overs in the fifth match of the rubber and had to rely on the lower half of their order for most of their runs.
South replied with 150/4 to win by six wickets with 17.4 overs to spare.
Du Plessis pulled Trent Boult for four to end the match and reach 51 not out.
That none of South Africa’s bowlers took more than three wickets spoke of the attack’s dominance as a unit – which was complemented by stunning runouts by AB de Villiers and JP Duminy.
New Zealand’s slide started in the fifth over when Kagiso Rabada removed Martin Guptill from the equation.
Guptill levelled the series for the home side with a blistering 180 not out in Hamilton on Wednesday, and he walked to the wicket on Saturday as the highest runscorer in ODIs at Eden Park.
But he added only four to his Auckland career aggregate of 735 before advancing down the pitch to Rabada, who speared his stumps with a yorker.
That seemed to shock the home side’s batsmen into submission, and the key wickets of Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie and Ross Taylor fell for the addition of nine runs in the space of five overs.
New Zealand were reduced to 87/6 in the 23rd over, when Mitchell Santner and Colin de Grandhomme started their face-saving stand of 45.
It was ended in the 35th, when Duminy at point dived, collected the ball cleanly, and threw down the single stump he could see with Santner well out of his ground.
That followed De Villiers’ similarly slick strike from midwicket in the 11th over to run out Williamson.
Although four New Zealanders reached 20, only Colin de Grandhomme made it to 30. He was last out for 32.
Rabada’s haul of 3/25 led the way, with Imran Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo taking two wickets each.
Tahir’s return of 2/14 from his full share of overs are the most economical figures by a spinner for South Africa in ODIs.
South Africa’s reply started unsteadily with Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Duminy and De Villiers all dismissed by the 22nd over with only 88 runs on the board.
But David Miller joined Du Plessis in a steady unbroken stand of 62 to take South Africa home.
Miller scored 45 not out off 36 balls with six fours and two sixes.