South Africa 87-2 (du Plessis 38no) beat
New Zealand 86 (Kleinveldt 3-18) by 8 wickets
First Twenty20 International, Durban
It could feel like a long tour of South Africa for New Zealand if their dismal performance in this evening’s first Twenty20 International is anything to go by. Shorn of their best batsman and best bowler, they handed debuts to four players and were promptly skittled for 86 by a home side, who were themselves fielding three men on debut.
Predictably, the match was over relatively quickly, with South Africa knocking off the runs in the 13th over to win by eight wickets, with stand-in captain Faf du Plessis ending on 38 and exciting young wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock on 28.
New Zealand’s day had begun badly with the news that Martin Guptill, arguably their second-best specialist batsman after Ross Taylor, would be forced to sit out due to a stomach bug. It didn’t get much better thereafter as they only narrowly avoided making their lowest ever total in the format - 80 against Pakistan in 2010 - and then allowed Robin Peterson to deliver South Africa’s most economical figures in a Twenty20 International.
In truth, New Zealand were never likely to make a big enough total once their new captain Brendon McCullum had departed in the fifth over to Rory Kleinveldt to make it 19 for three. Kleinveldt had already had an advancing Rob Nicol caught behind off his first delivery and would dismiss last man Mitchell McClenaghan for a duck to end with three for 18.
Dale Steyn was as destructive as ever and took a wicket in the powerplay and at the death, while Chris Morris (two for 19), Peterson (two for eight) and Ryan McLaren (one for 27) did the damage in the middle.
Only three New Zealand batsmen reached double figures, with Colin Munro hitting four fours during his 18-ball 23 and Doug Bracewell chipping in with an unbeaten 21 at the end as he battled, in vain, to help his team bat for the full 20 overs.
New Zealand did get offered a brief glimmer of hope at the start of the home side’s run chase when Richard Levi edged behind off McClenaghan. However, that hope was to prove false as Henry Davids hit 20 off 13 balls before du Plessis and de Kock sealed the win during their unbroken third-wicket partnership of 42.
The second match in the series is on Sunday in East London, with the third and final one on Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth.
© Cricket World 2012
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