Levi and Tsotsobe star in opening win
South Africans 150 for 6 (Levi 63, Worker 3-23) beat Canterbury 130 (Henry 42, Tsotsobe 4-18) by 20 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Richard Levi's half-century gave a powerful start to the South Africans' batting, before Lonwabo Tsotsobe's early hat-trick helped set up a 20-run win against Canterbury in Christchurch. The South Africans' tour opener wasn't all one-sided though, as their middle order stumbled and their bowlers were given a scare by a late cameo by Matt Henry.
After Canterbury chose to field, Levi gave the visitors a blazing start. He outscored Hashim Amla in an explosive opening stand as the South Africans raced to 80 for 0 in eight overs. The most productive over of the match was the fifth - 21 runs came off it as Levi started by slamming medium-pacer Logan van Beek for fours fours. He reached his fifty in the next over with a big six over midwicket but Levi's dismissal in the ninth over led to the visitors losing their way.
The next six overs yielded only 27 runs for the loss of Amla, Colin Ingram and captain AB de Villiers. The South Africans had looked set for at least 180 when Levi was in the middle, but they ended up with a relatively modest 150.
If Canterbury were buoyed by their efforts in the second half of the visitors' batting, their hopes were punctured by Tsotsobe's hat-trick. He ended the second over of the chase by dismissing the openers George Worker and Peter Fulton before returning to trap Shanan Stewart lbw with an incutter. In his third over, he took out highly rated youngster Tom Latham and by the end of his spell, Canterbury were at 24 for 4.
The match meandered along and the South Africans seemed headed for a huge victory before the No. 9, Henry, swung five sixes in a 17-ball 42 to briefly raise Canterbury's spirits. The fight was virtually over in the 18th over, though, as he edged a Morne Morkel yorker through to the keeper and Canterbury were bowled out with an over to spare.
de Villiers was thrilled with the successful start to the tour. "This was exactly what we needed," he said. "We needed a competitive challenge and all the credit to Canterbury's batsmen for fighting the way they did towards the end."
He was also pleased with the form of Levi and Tsotsobe. "Richard is a phenomenal batsman, he is an impact player and it is very exciting for us to have a player of his calibre at the top of the order.
"Lopsy has just been outstanding. I don't know how he does it so consistently, he just keeps taking wickets."