Captain AB de Villiers top-scored with an unbeaten 89 as South Africa completed a six-wicket win over New Zealand in an ODI on Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Earlier, Luke Ronchi was New Zealand’s last man out for 99 after stalling a middle-order collapse and leading New Zealand to 230 in 45.1 overs. South Africa made 236-4 in reply. Ronchi reached his highest score in 24 one-day appearances and shared a 74-run last-wicket partnership with Trent Boult (21 not out) which allowed New Zealand to reach a competitive total after it lost three wickets on 68.
South Africa then calmly chased down New Zealand’s total with 11 balls to spare and with de Villiers and JP Duminy (58 not out) sharing a 139-run partnership. Hashim Amla steadied the South African innings early by batting 25 overs for 38 runs. Although Boult cheaply removed Quinton de Kock (9) and Faf du Plessis (8) and South Africa’s asking rate briefly topped six per over, de Villiers and Duminy expertly paced the reply.
They batted the last 25.1 overs and were able jointly to overcome a sound bowling and sharp fielding performance by New Zealand. “We felt pretty good,” de Villiers said. “A funny kind of wicket, one of those where I didn’t personally feel I was in at any stage which maybe played into my hands and forced me to be a bit more conservative. Fortunately I was there at the end and I was able to see it through with JP.” (AP)
Brief scores: New Zealand 230 in 45.1 overs (L Ronchi 99; I Tahir 2/37, V Philander 2/38, M Morkel 2/39). South Africa 236/4 in 48.1 overs (AB de Villiers 89 n.o., JP Duminy 58 n.o.). South Africa won by 6 wickets.