A fine innings from opener Henry Davids and incisive bowling from slow left-armer Aaron Phangiso carried South Africa to a series-clinching 33-run victory in the 3rd and final T20I against New Zealand at St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Chasing 180 to win, New Zealand lost wickets regularly as first Ryan McLaren and then Phangiso pressured the batsmen out through tight bowling. Only opener Martin Guptill (24 off 20 balls) and skipper Brendon McCullum (25 off 22) scored above 20 when they put together a 47-run second-wicket partnership after McLaren dismissed Rob Nicol with only six runs on the board. Both batsmen however fell within three runs of each other to leave New Zealand at 56 for three in the ninth over.
Thereafter New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals, and the life all but went out of the chase when James Franklin was dismissed to leave the Kiwis at 84 for five in the 13th. Eventually they could only manage 146 for nine. Phangiso took the key wickets of Guptill, McCullum and Franklin to finish with three for 25 in his four overs.
AFP adds: Henry Davids hit his second successive half-century as South Africa made a challenging 179 for six.
The slightly-built Davids struck 68 off 51 balls with seven fours and two sixes to enable South Africa to overcome a poor start.
Captain Francois du Plessis opened the batting with Davids but was out for one in the second over, to be followed by Quinton de Kock in the fifth over.
But Davids and the recalled Justin Ontong revived the innings with a third wicket stand of 89 off 61 balls before Ontong was caught at cover for 48 off 30 balls.
SCORES IN BRIEF
SOUTH AFRICA: 179 for 6 (Davids 68, Ontong 48, Miller 28, Behardien 22; McClenaghan 2-24, Bracewell 2-35)
NEW ZEALAND: 146 for 9 (Guptill 24, B McCullum 25, Franklin 16,N McCullum 17, Bracewell 15 not out; McLaren 3-25, Phangiso 3-25)
Result: South Africa won by 33 runs and clinched 3-match series 2-1.
Player-of-the-match: Henry Davids.