A poor batting performance chasing an average 178 to win prevented South Africa from taking the T20I series, going down by 32 runs to draw 1-1 against New Zealand in Centurion on Sunday.
This was a hugely disappointing batting display by the hosts and ultimately cost them a victory as they finished on 145-8 in 20 overs.
The game plan for the chase was an interesting albeit misguided one and backfired badly as the South Africans failed to balance their highly aggressive approach with some more measured, intelligent batting.
AB de Villiers (19) and Farhaan Behardien (36) lost their wickets after following up a big boundary with a second attempt at a big shot, both getting caught on the boundary in the process.
Morne van Wyk (3) went early in the chase when he played a pull shot too early and was caught behind, before Hashim Amla (14) hit one straight to cover to leave his team on 19-2.
The average first-innings score on this ground is 180, but New Zealand made their 177 look more than enough as they forced the Proteas into high risk shots by putting them under pressure.
De Villiers and Rilee Rossouw (26) got a partnership going even though the approach of Rossouw were puzzling.
He tried to hit every ball to the boundary without trying to settle in first, while De Villiers was more measured in his approach with some scintillating strokes.
Perhaps they wanted to get ahead of the required run-rate, but it’s not always necessary to try to follow up a big six with an even bigger one. Both De Villiers and Behardien fell into this trap and the loss of their wickets were crucial in the context of the run-chase.
Rossouw had a mishit to midwicket but Behardien and David Miller (29) looked like they could still pull off a hard-fought win. Both looked comfortable out in the middle but the loss of Behardien was a big blow.
David Wiese didn’t last long, also trying to go big and when Miller finally got out in the 18th over he took South Africa’s small chance of a comeback with him.
The truth is the home side never really looked like reaching the target once they were reduced to 75-4.
Kagiso Rabada had earlier claimed figures of 3-30 in four overs.
Eddie Leie replaced Morne Morkel in the SA XI but the leg-spinner had a disappointing afternoon with figures of 1-32 in three overs.
Martin Guptill played very well for his 60 off 35 balls, while contributions from Grant Elliot (20), James Neesham (28) and Colin Munro (18 off 8) propelled New Zealand to a slightly below average total.
South Africa’s impatient run-chase ensured it was enough.