Day 1 of 1
South Africa won by 6 wickets.

New Zealand vs S Africa

Commentary

Last Updated: February 25, 2012 8:55am

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    Join us for the 2nd ODI on Wednesday 29th February

    Thanks for joining us for this first ODI of the three match series - we hope to see you in four days time for the second game in Napier. We'll be live from 2:45am South African time - join us then here at Cricket365. For now, its goodbye from me, Gareth Allison, and enjoy the Pakistan vs England T20 encounter later today.

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    Lots to think about for the New Zealanders

    Brendon McCullum is understandably less upbeat about proceedings; "We were looking to take that batting Powerplay a bit early, but we kept losing wickets. You cannot allow world-class players to get into the game, and we allowed AB to do that." They were probably also around 20 runs or so short, and unfortunately couldn't kick on in the final stages of their innings. The next game at McLean Park in Napier now looms large, and another loss there would mean that the series would be done and dusted with a game to spare.

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    Man of the Match

    Who else? AB de Villiers gets $500 from the National Bank and is all smiles. "We did really in the field to restrict them. They had a couple of partnerships, but we kept getting wickets, and that is where we won the game. It was a slowish kind of wicket, and it is important to build pressure on these kind of wickets. Faf did extremely well." Couldn't agree more.

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    A hard-fought but professional performance

    A clinical performance from the Proteas, despite losing the three big wickets of Amla, Smith & Kallis up front to leave them wobbling on 35/3 at one stage. Duminy struggled with the likes of Nathan McCullum and didn't look to be in the best touch, but he played a big part in helping captain de Villiers rebuild the innings. How crucial did that DRS decision in overturning the LBW shout against Faf prove to be in the scheme of things? If he had gone at that stage, NZ would have been well on top and in a great position to close out the game.

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    Over 45.2 Williamson 0-1w-1

    Kane Williamson is thrown the ball for what turns out to be the final over of the game - a wide is then followed by a laid-back tuck behind square for the winning single. South Africa have done it, and they've done it ruthlessly - AB held the whole innings together, but du Plessis and Duminy stuck around and gave the support that was needed to get through the tricky patches. It's a victory by 6 wickets, with 28 balls to spare.

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    Over 45 Bracewell 4-1-4-0-1w-0

    They're not done yet - du Plessis nudges another one to the fine leg fence, and de Villiers guides one to third man for yet another boundary. They've really come alive in the last ten overs - NZ haven't had an answer for this onslaught, built on that sometimes painstaking period in the middle overs where it looked like SA might let the rate run away with them. It's been calculated, brutal batting in the latter stages of this innings, and NZ will have many questions to answer after this second-half performance.

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    Over 44 Bracewell 1-6-4-4-1-0

    Another century for AB - McCullum brings the field in, but AB still finds a gap to bring up yet another ODI ton, a match-winning one at that. Faf is ending this game in style now - a huge six to bring up his 50, followed by two leg-side boundaries where he freed his arms and pulled with authority. Breathtaking stuff, and it's good to see him finishing a game with an innings like this - his batting has had its critics, but he's setting this right with this magnificent innings with his captain.

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    Over 43 Southee 0-1-1-1lb-1-3w-0

    Last roll of the dice - Southee, the strike bowler, to see if he can conjure up something special. He's gone for just under a run per ball today, not ideal from the fast man. He's steaming in, but these two are so well set now that they're seeing it early. Amazingly, the first extra of the innings arrives in the form of a leg bye - very unusual that the first extra comes so late in an innings. Southee spears in a yorker, but AB can still squeeze it away for a single. Three wides and it seems that NZ are losing hope and heart very quickly indeed. We're in the home stretch now...

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    Over 42 Bracewell 4-2-0-1-1-1

    Bracewell again strays, its almost too easy for Faf: he flicks it away in the air to the vacant gap in front of square for another boundary. They've managed to raise and maintain the tempo just when they needed to, with du Plessis providing the perfect foil to his captain's innings. 37 runs off 48 balls needed.

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    Over 41 Ellis 1-0-0-1-1-1

    A great yorker is somehow dug out by du Plessis, and its hands on heads for all the New Zealanders fielding nearby. The men in black are starting to look a little downcast, but they've still got a sniff (although admittedly less of a sniff than they had about 5 overs ago).

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    Over 40 Nicol 2-1-1-6-6-1

    Singles and twos are coming fairly easy now for the two Titans batsmen, but AB isn't content with that - a short ball dragged down is pulled with power a long way over the boundary. Six, and then another immediately after to end the batting powerplay in style. There was a man at long on, but it went way, way, way over his head. AB moves into the 90s now as well - a key innings and leading from the front as he so often likes to do.

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    Last over of the powerplay now.

    South Africa have used it well so far; Rob Nicol to rejoin the attack in an effort to make that sorely-needed breakthrough. Can he do it for his captain?

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    Over 39 Ellis 0-1-1-4-0-1

    Brendon McCullum gambling now by bringing back the medium-pacer Ellis into the attack. He puts one slightly leg-side and full, and it's whipped in the air for a boundary square - good shot and an ordinary delivery that. McCullum is letting his frustration show now, moving his field around in an attemt to unsettle AB who pretends to be coming down the pitch before staying put and defending.

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    Over 38 Franklin 1-1-0-1-1-1

    Faf seems to be having a go now, with de Villiers playing the supporting anchor role. I'm sure he needs no reminder of the last time he was batting in an ODI against NZ in that fateful World Cup quarter-final last year - he would dearly love to turn the tables here. Stable, solid over from James Franklin, who many thought wouldn't be in today's team after sustaining a finger injury in training yesterday. SA require 74 off 72 balls now.

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    Over 37 Southee 1-0-1-1-4-4

    A drive out to the sweeper greets Tim Southee, who is into his 8th over. An extremely quick single from two extremely quick batsmen, du Plessis was home comfortably again. A slow cutter halfway down the pitch gets the treatment it deserved, with Faf clouting it to the vacant boundary at wide long off before another boundary comes courtesy of a clumsy fielding effort on the cover fence. Exactly what the Kiwis didn't want - two boundaries in one over, and captain McCullum is summoning James Franklin now to have a bowl.

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    Over 36 Bracewell 2-1-1-0-1-0

    2 runs come from an overpitched delivery, AB clips to leg and the two then take turns in turning over the strike for the couple of few balls.

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    Over 35 Southee 1-0-4-0-0-4

    Ooh, a little bit of reverse-swing for the returning Southee, and he almost snuck one through Faf's defences. He does well to drive an attempted yorker straight, and it was very well timed indeed, the bowler got a finger on it but to no avail. The keeper comes up to the wicket, but Southee gives the batsman a full toss on leg and it's easily tucked away for another boundary. Striving for the yorker there, but it went wrong for NZ.

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    Time for a breather

    The players will enjoy some drinks - take this moment to catch your breath. We're going to be in for a tight and exciting finish here, methinks.

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    Over 34 Bracewell 4-1-1-2-1-0

    Faf has got the memo now too: he also uses his feet beautifully to loft one over the covers for a well-timed boundary. A few more of these shots will give SA some breathing room with the required rate sitting at just under 6.5 an over now. Bracewell raps du Plessis on the pads, and the umpire's finger goes up! The Black Caps are jubilant, but the South African reviews it...and its a good review for SA! Hawk-eye shows the ball was too high, and he survives. Massive moment in the game there - SA also reach the 150 immediately after.

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    Over 33 Nicol 1-0-0-0-1-6

    Nifty footwork sees AB coming down the track and clobbering Rob Nicol for a large six over wide long-on - that was a big one. He loves hitting in that arc, and ruins an otherwise tight over from the NZ opening bat.

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Match Details

Date
25th Feb 2012
Toss
Venue
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Umpires
C B Gaffaney and R K Illingworth

s africa BATTING CARD

Batsman R
Amla b Southee 8
Smith c Ryder b Mills 9
Kallis c Williamson b Bracewell 13
Duminy c&b Nicol 46
de Villiers not out 106
du Plessis not out 66
Extras 5w, 1lb 6
Total Close, 45.2 Overs 254 - 4
Full Batting Card

new zealand BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
Mills 7 0 27 1
Southee 10 0 64 1
Bracewell 10 1 61 1
McCullum 7 0 25 0
Nicol 5 0 43 1
Ellis 5 0 26 0
Franklin 1 0 5 0
Williamson 0.2 0 2 0
Full Bowling Card