South Africa Take T20 Series With Convincing Win
South Africa 179-6 (Davids 68, Ontong 48) beat
New Zealand 146-9 (Phangiso 3-25) by 33 runs
Third Twenty20 International, Port Elizabeth
Report by Daniel Grummitt
South Africa were deserved winners of the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand. After coming out on the wrong side of a close game three days ago in East London, they were back to the sort of form which saw them comfortably win the first match as they won the series decider by 33 runs today in Port Elizabeth.
Henry Davids and Justin Ontong helped set up their winning total of 179 for six with a fast-paced third-wicket partnership, which allowed David Miller and Farhaan Behardien to add late cameos. They then put in a largely disciplined bowling and fielding performance to restrict the Black Caps to just 146 for nine in reply.
32 year-old Titans batsman Davids has been the find of the series for South Africa. After hitting 20 and 55 in his first two matches, he bettered both of those innings today with a superb 68 off 51 balls and looks likely to be Richard Levi’s long-term replacement at the top of the order after the burly right-hander was dropped before today’s match following a string of low scores.
Captain Faf du Plessis promoted himself to open alongside Davids, but didn’t last long before being bowled by Ronnie Hira. Quinton de Kock followed three overs later, caught by a diving Corey Anderson off New Zealand’s likely next Test debutant Mitchell McClenaghan, to leave the hosts tottering at 26 for two.
Apart from a brief flurry from Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill at the start of their run chase, those two early wickets were about the only time that New Zealand looked as though they had even an outside chance of winning. Davids and Ontong saw to that. The former was strong on the back foot, in particular, and brought up his fifty from 41 deliveries, while the latter deposited James Franklin for successive sixes in the 15th over before being caught on the off-side.
Despite Davids also perishing before the 20 overs were up, South Africa still added 63 from the final five overs as Miller and Behardien cut loose. Miller hit four fours from his 15 balls and made 28, while Behardien hit a six and two fours during his 11-ball 22.
New Zealand lost Rob Nicol early on, but, thanks to McCullum and Guptill, they were ahead of South Africa’s score for a while. Each man hit three fours and a six before departing from consecutive Aaron Phangiso overs.
With the tourists’ best two batsmen gone what followed was predictable as the remainder of their inexperienced froze against a professional South Africa side. Phangiso recovered from his mauling at the hands of Guptill in East London and finished with three for 25, while Ryan McLaren returned identical figures, as the required run rate spiralled. 12 an over was always going to be too much for the lower middle-order and, despite six of them reaching double figures, no one reached 20 as regular wickets fell, culminating in their comprehensive defeat.
New Zealand’s tour of South Africa continues in the New Year, with the first of two Tests beginning in Cape Town on 2nd January. Things will be even more difficult for the tourists then as the home side will be strengthened by the return of their senior players. New Zealand will still be without Ross Taylor and Tim Southee.
© Cricket World 2012
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