AB de Villiers and JP Duminy scored unbeaten half-centuries to secure a six wicket win in the first ODI against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday morning.
South Africa started their chase knowing that if they batted the full 50 overs, they would most likely get the 231 runs required for victory. The first 10 overs didn’t go according to plan, as Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis were back in the hut for nine and eight, respectively.
Rilee Rossouw (24) and Hashim Amla (38) steadied the ship before both got out when looking set. That brought AB de Villiers and JP Duminy together in the 25th over with the scoreboard reading 97-4.
The two experienced Proteas milked the spinners, before accelerating at the death to seal a comfortable six wicket victory with 11 balls to spare. Duminy finished the game in style with a maximum over mid-wicket to walk off undefeated on 58 off 72 deliveries, while De Villiers finished with an 85-ball 89.
Earlier, the South African bowlers made the most of winning the toss by dismissing New Zealand for 230 in the 46th over. It could have been worse for the hosts had it not been for Luke Ronchi’s 83-ball 99.
The former Australian international was joined by Trent Boult with the scoreboard reading 156-9 in the 35th over. They fought hard, adding respectability to the total, before Ronchi was the last wicket to fall. He was caught behind off the bowling of Dale Steyn, agonisingly short of what would have been his maiden ODI ton.
The South African attack shared the load with all six bowlers picking up a wicket. Imran Tahir was once again the best of the bunch. The leg-spinners 10 overs yielded 2-37 and controlled the middle overs after Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel delivered disciplined spells with the new ball.
It was a dominant performance, but De Villiers would have liked to wrap up the New Zealand innings after reducing them to 156-9. They were let off the hook and the one aspect that the team can improve on, is being more ruthless when they are in control.