Starting from the T20s, every time South Africa and New Zealand played each other in the current series, it was turned out to be an one-sided game. The trend continued on Wednesday as well as the hosts handed out the Kiwis 62-run defeat in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) at Durban. It was a thoroughly professional day at the office for South Africa, who, this victory the Proteas also claimed the series 2-1. Chasing 284 to win New Zealand could only manage 221 in 49.2 overs. After their 2-3 defeat against England, this New Zealand’s second series defeat after a historic World Cup campaign. South Africa, on the other hand are back on track after the disappointments of Bangladesh.
New Zealand had a poor start of the chase as Martin Guptill got out quite cheaply. However thanks to couple of drop catches by South African fielders, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham managed to survive for almost 19 overs and put up 84-run partnership. Till the 24 over, the match was in balance. But as soon as Imran Tahir got rid of Williamson, the hosts tightened their grip. Latham was unfortunately run out after getting his half-century. New Zealand struggling at 114 for 3.
There was no significant partnership for visitors from their as this young team crumbled under pressure. Colin Munro tried to put up some resistance but South Africa were too good to let this game go. Kagiso Rabada, David Waisa and Imaran Tahir bowled exceptionally for the host. Though Waise got three wickets, but Rabada and Tahir put the pressure with economical figures. They also got two wickets each.
Earlier South Africa won an important toss and without any hesitation decided to bat. Thanks to couple of crucial half-centuries by Morne van Wyk and AB de Villiers and a quick-fire 28-ball 44 by Farhaan Behardien, the hosts reached a competitive score of 283 for 7. Their openers, Hashim Amla and van Wyk took their time initially. The new ball swung a bit and the Kiwi bowlers were bowling a tight line. But both Amla and vs Wyk played out the difficult session and gave the team 89-run opening partnership.
For New Zealand it was the medium pace of Grant Elliot, which did the rescue act. Elliot removed Amla in the 21st over. The hosts lost the wicket of No. 3 batsman Rilee Rossouw in the next over. Elliot against struck in the 31st over as Van Wyk also got out just after reaching his half-century. Form 89 for no loss, South Africa were struggling at 134 for 3. From there De Villiers and David Miller took over and shared a counter attacking 86-run partnership.
De Villiers, the South African captain was looking in a different mood. All the Kiwi bowlers failed to tame as he scored yet another half-century. In the course of the innings he also became the fastest cricketer to reach 8,000 ODI runs. His innings was rapidly developing as one of “AB’s special”, when an in-swinger form Doug Bracewell got past him and disturbed his off stump. Soon Miller followed him, who was brilliantly caught behind the stumps by Luke Ronchi of Adam Milne. However, Behardien’s knock in the late overs took them to a strong position.
South Africa might have outplayed the Kiwis in this particular game and won the series, but they were quit inconsistent in the previous games. There are rooms for improvement ahead of the all important India series. However, this series victory will certainly keep them in good shape before they leave for India.
South Africa 283 for 7 in 50 overs (Morne van Wyk 58, AB de Villiers 64; Ben Wheeler 3 for 71, Grant Elliot 2 for 41) beat New Zealand 221 in 49.2 overs (Tom Latham 54, Kane Williamson 39; David Waise 3 for 58) by 62 runs.
(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession.Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)
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