Potent Proteas seal series
South Africa’s record Twenty20 total at Port Elizabeth earned them a 33-run win and 2-1 series victory over New Zealand.
The hosts’ 179 for six, the best score at St George’s Park in international or domestic T20, was built on 68 from man of the match Henry Davids and the recalled Justin Ontong’s 48.
The Black Caps battled gamely in reply, but were limited to 146 for nine after Ryan McLaren and Aaron Phangiso each returned 3-25 from four overs.
Following New Zealand’s 86 all out in a eight-wicket opening loss, this decider had been set up by Martin Guptill’s unbeaten hundred in victory by the same margin on Sunday.
Today Francois du Plessis opted to bat first but, opening in place of the dropped Richard Levi, was bowled cheaply by Ronnie Hira.
Although Davids got going, Quinton de Kock soon skied a catch to mid-off to give Mitchell McClenaghan his scalp.
Davids and Ontong, Levi’s replacement, responded with a decisive 89-run stand in 10 overs until the latter was held at extra-cover off James Franklin.
Davids holed out to deep midwicket as McClenaghan struck again, but David Miller and Farhaan Behardien added late runs before falling to Doug Bracewell from the innings’ last two balls. Miller was held for 28 on the midwicket boundary and Behardien went likewise for 22 at fine-leg.
New Zealand’s chase was soon undermined by McLaren trapping Rob Nicol lbw and, despite Guptill and Brendon McCullum prospering in the rest of the powerplay, both fell to Phangiso. Guptill miscued a catch to midwicket on 24 and McCullum picked out wide long-off to depart for 25.
McLaren then had Colin Munroe caught behind and Franklin holed out to long-on off Phangiso. The Black Caps were 87 for six when Morne Morkel took a diving catch at short third man to give Robin Peterson Jimmy Neesham’s wicket.
Any lingering hopes of victory for the tourists ended as McLaren took a return hit to run out non-striker Corey Anderson before having Nathan McCullum caught on the point fence next ball.
Hira lofted a Rory Kleinveldt full-toss to long-on to be the last wicket in the final over as South Africa eased to victory a week ahead of the first Test between the teams.