A captain’s innings from AB De Villiers guided South Africa to a six wicket win over New Zealand in the opening ODI at Mount Maunganui.
The South African skipper scored an unbeaten 89 and shared an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 139 with JP Duminy (58*) as the tourists recovered from a sluggish start.
Earlier in the day, Luke Ronchi (99) fell agonisingly short of a maiden international century after leading New Zealand to their record 10th wicket partnership in one-day cricket.
Top order collapse
AB De Villiers decided to put the hosts into bat first after he won the toss. And it seemed like an inspired choice when New Zealand were reeling at 68-5, having just lost three wickets for no runs.
It was Vernon Philander who made the initial breakthrough, removing both opening batsman – Martin Guptill (5) and James Neesham (16) – in a similar fashion, with Quinton
de Kock getting his first of six dismissals for the day by catching both behind the stumps.
Dean Brownlie (24) and Brendon McCullum (16) looked to get the innings back on track before they were both ousted in consecutive overs bowled by Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel respectively.
Morkel took two wickets in as many balls when he bowled Corey Anderson for a golden duck, but was denied a hat-trick when Luke Ronchi survived his very first delivery.
And it was the Black Caps wicketkeeper who was charged with getting his side to a respectable total, which he managed to do with an 83-ball knock of 99 that included 11 fours and three sixes.
The former Australia international put on 74 runs with Trent Boult (21*) for the final wicket, which set a New Zealand record for One-Day Internationals.
But Ronchi was denied a maiden ODI hundred when Dale Steyn got his first wicket of the day, providing another catch for de Kock. New Zealand were all out for 230 and still had 29
balls remaining in their innings.
The Proteas were undeterred by the dismissal of de Kock (9) in the second over of their reply. Hashim Amla saw to that with an innings of 38 that included just one boundary in more than 90 minutes at the crease.
South Africa gradually built their way towards the victory total – the perfect limited-overs chase. In the middle part of their innings, they went 19.4 overs without reaching the ropes, but made sure they were always in contention by losing few wickets.
De Villiers was joined by Duminy at the crease when the scoreboard read 97-4 and the unbeaten 139-run partnership that followed helped the team to victory with just under two overs to spare.