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Record-breaker Levi the perfect fit

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Richard Levi

Richard Levi salutes the fastest Twenty20 international century as South Africa levelled their three-match series with New Zealand

Richard Levi hit the fastest Twenty20 international century as South Africa beat New Zealand by eight wickets in Hamilton.

Levi took just 45 balls to reach three figures, crashing a record 13 sixes along the way, to level the three-match series.

It was stunning stuff from the 24-year-old opener, in just his second international match, as he finished unbeaten on 117 from 67 balls.

The innings dwarfed New Zealand’s 173 for four, built upon Martin Guptill’s 47, as South Africa got home with four overs remaining.

The Black Caps looked to wrap up the rubber after their opening-match win and made quick progress early thanks to Guptill.

The opener, who had struck seven successive half-centuries in all forms of cricket prior to this game, hit 47 from 35 balls to leave the Black Caps 97 for two when he departed, courtesy of a top-edge to Albie Morkel off Marchant de Lange.

Brendon McCullum added 35 off 31 deliveries while James Franklin accelerated the rate further with a 10-ball 28, including four sixes.

But Franklin's hitting was nothing in comparison to Levi, who announced himself on the international stage in some style.

He lost Hashim Amla and Wayne Parnell in the first five overs, leaving the Proteas in some trouble at 41 for two, but unleashed some brutal shots to power his side to victory in quick time.

Doug Bracewell was on the receiving end of most of the carnage, conceding 37 from two overs, as Levi got his first 50, with his only single to the offside at that point, off 25 balls.

The fireworks then began in earnest as he took 20 more balls to reach his ton before wrapping up a comprehensive victory.