Franklin Leads New Zealand To Unexpected Win

Franklin Leads New Zealand To Unexpected Win
Franklin Leads New Zealand To Unexpected Win
©REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images

New Zealand 209-9 (Franklin 47no) beat
South Africa 208 (McClenaghan 4-20) by 1 wicket
First One-Day International, Paarl
Report by Daniel Grummitt

A calm unbeaten 47 from James Franklin helped New Zealand win a thrilling, low-scoring and slightly unusual opening One-Day International against South Africa.

In modern cricket, 208 is never normally close to being a winning score, but thanks to some brilliance from the South African seamers, it looked as though it would be for most of the New Zealand run chase. All found some movement, usually through the air on what was a fairly benign Boland Park track, and reduced New Zealand to 105 for seven by the end of the 26th over.

However, the Black Caps’ policy of packing their side with all-rounders paid dividends as Nathan McCullum, coming in at number nine, and Kyle Mills, at number 10, added stands worth 35 and 47 with Franklin. Mills was finally felled by McLaren - who found the most significant reverse swing of the four South Africa fast-men and was the most effective - from the first ball of the 44th over to leave Franklin with just the company of last man Mitchell McClenaghan and 22 still needed.

McClenaghan nervously played out the remainder of McLaren’s over, whereupon Franklin rose to the challenge he had been set. The first ball off the 45th over from Dale Steyn was drilled down the ground for four, while the next beat the outstretched hands of Quinton de Kock - would Thami Tsolekile or even AB de Villiers have got a hand to it? - and raced to the third man boundary. Three more runs came off the next three deliveries, leaving McClenaghan another ball to just about survive.

The 46th over began with New Zealand needing 10 and Franklin in no mood to watch McClenaghan flail around anymore. He upper-cut a bouncer from Ryan McClaren for four, scrambled two leg byes off the second, before blazing one through point and clenching his fist in triumph. New Zealand had, at last, beaten South Africa.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the superb display earlier from their bowlers - in particular McClenaghan. He got his first wicket when Graeme Smith played around a straight one, having been dropped earlier and having seen his opening partner, Hashim Amla, depart a couple of overs previously. His second came when AB de Villiers also missed a straight delivery to make it 37 for three.

Colin Ingram and Faf du Plessis then began a partial recovery with a partnership of 46 before Kane Williamson struck with his part-time off-spin. It would be the first of four unexpected wickets for Williamson, while McClenaghan would also end with four to return the best figures by a Kiwi on ODI debut (four for 20).

South Africa did evetually manage to get past 200 despite slipping to 119 for five, as Ryan McClaren added 59 with du Plessis, and Rory Kleinveldt hit three sixes from one Kyle Mills death over. However, three of the last four batsmen failed to score as the innings ended rather quickly.

New Zealand’s run chase then began disastrously, with Martin Guptill’s horror trot continuing, run-out without facing a ball, and Rob Nicol and Kane Williamson both falling to the impressive Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Tsotsobe was one of a host of bowlers throughout the day to trouble the batsmen more than was expected. Ryan McLaren ended with four wickets, while Dale Steyn found prodigious away swing and Rory Kleinveldt also moved the ball significantly - all after New Zealand’s bowlers had troubled South Africa’s strong batting line-up.

All in all it was a slightly unusual and old-fashioned match, a fact perhaps aided by the new playing regulations. Bowlers finding swing with the two new balls; the triumph of part-time spin; and batsmen struggling find the boundary with the anything like the usual regularity all contributed to the feel. Add in a mid-innings power cut which rendered DRS unusable for part of the second innings and a victory for a New Zealand side in limited-overs cricket and the feeling is complete. 

Perhaps for the second match, New Zealand might even go back to playing in beige.

© Cricket World 2013

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