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NZ v SA Only T20I Review: South Africa dominate Kiwis in the lone T20

Hashim Amla of South Africa
Hashim Amla of South Africa. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Proteas came back to Eden Park, almost two years after the historic World Cup semi-finals which left the South African team teary eyed. In what had been a high voltage clash between both the teams, Grant Eliott went on to smash a six off Dale Steyn on the penultimate ball to seal a World Cup final spot for the Kiwis.

This time, South Africa managed to achieve a turnaround of the result as they won the game by a huge margin of 78 runs. The one-off T20 International kicked off at Auckland ahead of the five-match ODI series. Earlier in the day, it was the hosts who won the toss as captain Kane Williamson elected to field first. Ben Wheeler was preferred above either of Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham for the New Zealanders. Talented pacer Kagiso Rabada was rested and as a result, Dane Paterson played above him.

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In spite of Quinton de Kock’s early departure, South Africa were off to a stellar start. Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis put up a partnership of 87 runs from just 51 balls for the second wicket. While Amla cruised to a magnificent half century, scoring 62 runs from just 43 balls, du Plessis also displayed his pinch hitting skills with 3 sixes in his knock of 36 (25).

Both got out in quick succession but that didn’t stop the visitors as AB de Villiers continued to display his valour with a quickfire 26 (17). By the end of 15 overs, the Proteas had themselves in a great spot. It seemed they would go on to achieve a 200 plus total. While wickets kept falling at one end, JP Duminy’s late charge of 29 (16) made sure the Proteas racked up 185/6 in their quota of 20 overs.

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In what was a bad day at the office for the bowlers, Trent Boult’s stupendous bowling figures of 4-0-8-2 proved why he’s regarded as one of the best pacers in the world. His partner Tim Southee went wicketless as he was taken apart by the batsmen conceding 47 runs in his four overs.

Ben Wheeler also went on to concede 49 runs though he got the all important wicket of Hashim Amla. Left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner was quite expensive as well. Colin de Grandhomme bowled well and also got a couple of wickets. Colin Munro was taken to the cleaners by Amla in the only over he bowled.

Chasing 186 to win, the Kiwis needed a good start to count upon. Chris Morris’ twin strike in the third over ensured the hosts didn’t have one. Glenn Philips was dismissed cheaply while Munro got out for a golden duck. Williamson tried to accelerate but ended up giving a catch to Wayne Parnell. The middle order tumbled like a pack of cards.

Corey Anderson’s edge to de Kock left the Kiwis reeling at 55/4. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir showed why he’s one of the best in business with consecutive wickets. Tom Bruce who was the only batsman showing some resistance from the home side got out for 33 (27). With the momentum of the game having completely shifted in Proteas favour, the New Zealand lower had too much to do.

Southee and Grandhomme did provide some fireworks in the end with a few sixes. However, Tahir came back in the end, to clear the tail and steer South Africa to an astounding victory. The hosts were bowled out for a paltry 107 runs with more than five overs to spare. It was quite a disappointing performance from New Zealand’s perspective.

Talking about the Proteas, they excelled in all departments. After some brilliant batting in the first innings, the bowlers impressed in the second half. Imran Tahir went on take a five-wicket haul – his first in T20Is and was also rewarded the man of the match for the same. Andile Phehlukwayo also had splendid bowling figures of 3/19. Chris Morris got a couple of wickets at the start as South Africa produced a sensational victory in their first match of the tour.

Imran Tahir has been the No.1 bowler in the ICC rankings for T20 Internationals and there was never a dull moment as he held the ball today as well. With the lone T20 over, both teams will go to Hamilton where the five-match ODI series is all set to commence from Sunday onwards.

Brief Scores:

South Africa – 185/6 (20) (Hashim Amla – 62 (43): Trent Boult – 2/8)

New Zealand – 107/10 (14.5) (Tom Bruce – 33 (27); Imran Tahir – 5/24)

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