Franklin caps nail-biting victory
James Franklin’s unbeaten 47 gave New Zealand a thrilling one-wicket win over South Africa at Paarl in the first of three one-day internationals.
The 32-year-old all-rounder came to the crease with the Black Caps teetering on 81 for five in pursuit of 209 and, after that became 105 for seven, shared stands of 35 with Nathan McCullum, 37 with Kyle Mills and an unbroken 22 with Mitchell McClenaghan in which Franklin scored every run.
McClenaghan, the left-arm seamer making his ODI bow, had taken 4-20 from 10 overs and Kane Williamson 4-22 to dismiss the Proteas for 208 with 22 balls unused. Francois du Plessis top-scored with 57.
The result, also aided by 45 from BJ Watling, is a shot in the arm for the tourists who suffered innings-defeats in the two Tests between the teams.
Brendon McCullum won the toss only to see Graeme Smith dropped at first slip in the opening over.
However, once Mills had Hashim Amla lbw, Smith went the same way off McClenaghan.
McClenaghan likewise accounted for home skipper AB de Villiers yet du Plessis and Colin Ingram rebuilt by adding 45 until the latter looped Williamson to midwicket to go for 29.
Quinton de Kock was also shelled at first slip but, like Smith, benefited little as Franklin had him held at mid-off. Ryan McLaren survived Nathan McCullum’s lbw review and put on 59 with du Plessis before the former was caught behind for 33.
Suddenly four wickets had tumbled in as many overs when Robin Peterson was McClenaghan’s third lbw victim, for nought, du Plessis chipped Williamson to long-on and the debutant yorked Dale Steyn.
Rory Kleinveldt flayed three sixes in four Mills deliveries to lift South Africa beyond 200, but soon holed out to deep square-leg off Williamson for a 20-ball 26.
De Villiers, relieved of wicketkeeping duties by de Kock’s debut, threw down the striker’s stumps from cover to snare Martin Guptill for nought at the start of New Zealand's reply. There could have been two first-over wickets, but Watling was put down at second slip.
In the next set of six Smith made amends for his spill by holding Rob Nicol off Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who soon had Williamson held at cover-point to leave New Zealand 21 for three.
Watling and Brendon McCullum, who struck McLaren for a free-hit maximum, responded with a partnership worth 52. But, after a brief power cut, Kleinveldt trapped the captain in front for 26.
Kleinveldt also had Grant Elliott caught at slip before McLaren struck twice in the 26th over, causing Watling to play on and pinning Jimmy Neesham lbw.
Nathan McCullum’s resistance was ended when, despite a review, McLaren made him the day’s seventh lbw victim and Mills contributed 26 until the same bowler castled him.
That prompted Franklin to up the ante and his four fours in two overs, the last two off McLaren who returned 4-46, sealed a remarkable victory with 26 deliveries to spare.