Gibbs Century Helps South Africa Seal Series
New Zealand 238-8 (Sinclair 73, Styris 60) v
242-5 (Gibbs 119, Smith 51, Vettori 3-33)
South Africa won by five wickets and take the series 2-1
Herschelle Gibbs scored a blistering century as South Africa cruised to victory in the third and final one-day international against New Zealand, making light work of a victory target of 239 to seal a 2-1 series victory by five wickets.
Kyle Mills, Scott Styris, Mark Gillespie, Jacob Oram (twice) and Jeetan Patel (twice also) were all hit for massive sixes in a mesmerising display of power hitting from Gibbs.
He moved to his 34th ODI fifty with a glorious cover-driven boundary from the 40th ball he faced and the Proteas' hundred came up in the 17th over, even after captain Dan Vettori opted to delay the second and third Power Plays.
Such was Gibbs' dominance of both the bowling and the partnership that it took until the 21st over and Graeme Smith's 48th ball for him to hit his first boundary. The South African captain was dropped three times before holing out to Gillespie off of Dan Vettori for 51, ending a 173-run first-wicket partnership.
Gibbs' hundred had come up with a square drive over cover from his 77th ball and he added 19 more runs before falling the same way as Smith, caught in the deep, this time by Mills off of the bowling of Vettori.
Mills got just reward for his efforts with the wicket of AB De Villiers, who drove him straight to Mathew Sinclair for two before Vettori claimed JP Duminy (one) as South Africa wobbled slightly.
Thanks to Gibbs and Smith, the damage had been done, and despite Jacques Kallis (30) giving Lou Vincent a first one-day international wicket in his 100th match, Mark Boucher (26 not out) and Shaun Pollock (four not out) took their side to victory with 4.4 overs to spare.
Earlier, after Dale Steyn was finally included in South Africa's one-day line up, he promptly responded with the wickets of New Zealand openers Lou Vincent (18) and Brendon McCullum (nought) to help his side start strongly.
With the series level at 1-1, Charl Langeveldt then struck to remove the dangerous Jamie How for 15 to leave South Africa well and truly on top before New Zealand hit back.
Half-centuries from Styris (60) and Sinclair (73) gave New Zealand boost in the middle order and some late blows from Oram (34) and Mills (11) helped before Steyn returned to help run out Sinclair in the final over which Dan Vettori hit for eight.
New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, retaining the same team that won so convincingly in Port Elizabeth, while Albie Morkel was the man to make way for Steyn.
Steyn took twenty wickets in the two-match Test series between the two sides.
© Cricket World 2007