New Zealand beat the Proteas by six runs to level the series and end South Africa’s 12-game winning streak.
At one stage, South Africa looked to be well in control of this contest. Then, after David Miller and AB de Villiers were dismissed, it appeared as if the Kiwis would cruise to victory.
There would be another twist, with Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo putting on a dazzling display of hitting at the death. They took South Africa to within sight of a thrilling win, but no further.
The result sees New Zealand levelling the series with three matches still to play. It also marks the end of South Africa’s 12-match winning streak in ODIs.
De Villiers won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat on what looked to be another slow track. The visitors battled to make significant inroads, and the Kiwis were allowed to build a platform and then launch in the latter overs.
Ross Taylor’s innings of 102 not out was beautifully paced. Taylor played the anchor during his 104-run partnership with Kane Williamson, and that laid the foundation for a competitive score.
Later, it was Taylor and Jimmy Neesham who hit New Zealand to 289, the latter batsman proving especially effective against some weak at the death bowling by the South Africans.
Quinton de Kock was the pick of the South African top order. The gifted left-handed batsmen racked up his fourth consecutive score of 50 or more runs, and looked to be on course for yet another ODI ton.
But when De Kock played a loose stroke and was caught in the deep, the Proteas were in a difficult spot at 124-4. Trent Boult was the man responsible for that key wicket.
Miller’s dismissal marked the beginning of the end for the visitors. Miller and De Villiers had played patiently up to that point, amassing 68 runs for the fifth wicket. In the end Miller’s wicket was a soft one, offering a faint edge behind the stumps to Tom Latham.
De Villiers failed to adjust to a slower ball by Boult and was out caught behind. As De Villiers walked back to the changing room, it appeared as if South Africa were on the brink of defeat.
Pretorius (50 off 27 balls) and Phehlukwayo (29 not out off 34) kept South Africa’s slim hopes alive by playing some big shots in the closing stages. In the end, however, there was simply too much for the lower-order batsmen to do.
Fifteen runs were needed off the final over, but by that stage Pretorius had departed and Phehlukwayo had insufficient support in the form of Imran Tahir at the other end.
For the first time in 13 matches, the Proteas were forced to accept defeat.
NZ 289-4 (50 overs) – Ross Taylor 102 not out, Jimmy Neesham 71 not out, Kane Williamson 69, Dwaine Pretorius 2-40
SA 283-9 (50 overs) – Quinton de Kock 57, Dwaine Pretorius 50, Trent Boult 3-63, Mitchell Santner 2-46
New Zealand won by 6 runs
Photo: Marty Mellville/AFP/Getty Images