South Africa 179 for 6 (Davids 68, McClenaghan 2-24) beat New Zealand 146 for 9 (McCullum 25, McLaren 3-25, Phangiso 3-25) by 33 runs Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa won the first trophy available to them in their home summer with victory in the three-match Twenty20 series. After piling on the fifth highest score posted in the shortest format (at both international and domestic level) at St George’s Park, thanks largely to an 89-run third wicket stand between Henry Davids and Justin Ontong, Aaron Phangiso and Ryan McLaren ensured South Africa defended it comfortably.
All of New Zealand’s bowlers save for Mitchell McClenaghan and Ronnie Hira failed to read the pace of the Port Elizabeth pitch. Against the aggression of Davids and Ontong they gave away too many runs which allowed the pair to lay the launch-pad for take-off.
New Zealand did not have the batsmen to do the same. With Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum at the crease, there was some hope. Once the dominoes began to fall, there was no stopping the slide. Still, New Zealand competed with the hosts with more heart than was expected of them to set the tone ahead for the Test matches.
Full-report to follow
South Africa 179 for 6 (Davids 68, Ontong 48, McClenaghan 2-24) v New Zealand
Live Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Henry Davids and Justin Ontong put on 89 runs for the third wicket in 10.1 overs to form the spine of South Africa’s batting effort in the deciding Twenty20 in Port Elizabeth. They steadied the situation after the loss of two early wickets and accelerated at the right time to provide a launch-pad for take-off later on.
New Zealand will be fairly satisfied with their showing on a slow pitch early on, but disappointed with the eventual outcome. New Test call-up, Mitchell McClenaghan, who varied his pace well, and Ronnie Hira kept a lid on things but had limited back-up. James Franklin, Jimmy Neesham, Doug Bracewell and Nathan McCullum were all wayward and expensive as they struggled to adjust their lengths, something that will be crucial for both sides.
South Africa did not start well, though. Despite dropping Richard Levi, whose struggle in the international arena needed an intervention, their opening partnership did not fare any better. Faf du Plessis, who was promoted to bat his preferred spot, was bowled by Ronnie Hira as he attempted to hit through mid-wicket.
Levi’s omission also meant a change for Quinton de Kock, who was moved up to No.3 but his inexperience showed. Instead of simply rotating the strike while Henry Davids kept going, de Kock tried to loft McClenaghan over long-on and got a leading edge. Corey Anderson ran around from mid-off to take the catch at mid-on and de Kock’s series with the bat ended without him living up to the hype.
Davids had none of the same expectation but exceeded all hopes. He displayed a range of classical shots, tinged only with some extra aggression with the drive off the back foot and the pull shot his hallmarks. He scored off almost every ball he faced with Ontong on the other end to turn singles into braces. The pair pushed each other between the wickets and put pressure on the New Zealand fielders.
The only chance they gave was when Davids went aerial against Bracewell and lobbed the ball to Martin Guptill at short extra. Guptill seemed to lose the ball in the background and although he got fingers to it, he spilt the chance. Davids was on 32 at the time and went on to more than double his score and make New Zealand pay.
As Davids grew in confidence, so did Ontong and he swelled against Franklin. Ontong hit him for back to back sixes- first down the ground and then to deep mid-wicket but Franklin won the mini-battle. Ontong tried to hit a slower ball over the leg-side but was caught. He had taken 16 runs off the five balls he faced in that over and South Africa had 116 runs and seven wickets in hand as they approached the last five overs.
Those turned out to the most profitable, even though Davids departed mid-way through. South Africa added 63 runs in the final quarter of their innings, thanks to their big-hitters. Farhaan Behardien and David Miller both struck the ball cleanly against New Zealand’s clueless death bowlers. Neesham and Bracewell were unable to get the slower ball right and New Zealand could have ended up with too many to chase.