McLaren Takes South Africa Home In Thriller

McLaren Takes South Africa Home In Thriller
McLaren Takes South Africa Home In Thriller
©Action Images / Andrew Boyers

South Africa 264-9 (Smith 116) beat
New Zealand 260-9 (Tsotsobe 4-45) by 1 wicket
Third One-Day International, Potchefstroom
Report by Daniel Grummitt

Ryan McLaren hit the last ball of the match for six to help South Africa avoid their first ever ODI series whitewash at home. The Proteas’ run chase had followed an all too familiar pattern, with a solid start, followed by a mid-innings wobble; only this time McLaren was on hand to ensure that it didn’t end in defeat.

New Zealand had earlier recovered from a shaky start to post 260 for nine from their 50 overs as Grant Elliott, Colin Munro and James Franklin all hit half-centuries. Lonwabo Tsotsobe and McLaren had caused the tourists the most problems, ending with four wickets apiece.

Graeme Smith hit a century in South Africa’s run chase and, while he was at the crease, the win looked assured. However, his out-of-character rush of blood which led to him being caught at long-on brought the Black Caps back into the match. A few moments earlier, Jimmy Neesham had dropped Ryan McLaren and it was that that was to prove the crucial moment. Needing three to win from the final ball, McLaren got down on one knee and swept James Franklin over fine-leg for six.

In truth, Smith didn’t deserve to be on the losing side after his 10th ODI century and first against New Zealand. Following an 83-run opening stand with Quinton de Kock, he watched as his colleagues around him succumbed to the slowly climbing run rate, throwing away their wickets through a series of ill-judged shots.

Colin Ingram and Faf du Plessis both chipped short of a length deliveries from Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills to Martin Guptill in the circle, while Farhaan Behardien was caught by a leaping Kane Williamson off his own bowling. David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt were both bowled swinging across the line, with Aaron Phangiso edging a similar slog through to Brendon McCullum.

New Zealand’s top-order had earlier suffered its own familiar problems, with Guptill and Williamson falling early, closely followed by BJ Watling and Brendon McCullum. Tsotsobe picked up the first two, with McLaren dispatching the latter pair.

Grant Elliott and Colin Munro then added a fifth-wicket stand worth 61, with Franklin linking up with Munro following Elliott’s departure for 54 to add a further 67 for the sixth-wicket. Thanks, mainly to Franklin who ended on 53 not out off 52 balls, New Zealand added 85 off the last 10 overs of their innings, with 18 coming from the final over alone as Franklin laid into Rory Kleinveldt.

© Cricket World 2013

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