New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Twenty20, Wellington February 17, 2012

Intense New Zealand open with clinical win


New Zealand 148 for 4 (Guptill 78*) beat South Africa 147 for 6 (Duminy 41, Southee 3-28) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand's intense performance with the ball and in the field restricted South Africa to 147 for 6, setting up a moderate chase in Wellington. Their most in-form batsman, Martin Guptill, continued his strong summer, scoring his sixth consecutive international half-century to begin the series with a comfortable victory. The target was achieved only in the final over, but South Africa did not threaten New Zealand at any stage of the game.

South Africa came into this match having beaten Canterbury in the tour game, and New Zealand targeted the players who delivered that victory. Tim Southee attacked Richard Levi with the short ball, while Guptill went after Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Apart from the 15th over of the first innings, in which Kane Williamson conceded 26, Brendon McCullum used his spinners and shuffled his bowlers to keep South Africa under pressure throughout.

A lot of that pressure was applied by tenacious and athletic fielding, and no one was better that Guptill. Hashim Amla had found his groove, and South Africa were beginning to accelerate, when he was run out by a dive reminiscent of Jonty Rhodes. Guptill had swooped on the ball from extra cover, sprinted towards the non-striker's end, and dived full stretch to plough into the stumps.

Richard Levi, who was expected to be the aggressor but was stymied by the offspinner Nathan McCullum, responded to Amla's dismissal with a six and a four, but Colin Ingram gave him no support. Ingram stepped out to Nathan McCullum and watched an offbreak curve and spin past his bat, leaving Brendon McCullum with enough time to recover from a fumble and complete the stumping.

Having lost two wickets in two overs, South Africa needed a cool head, but Levi was unable to keep one. Southee hit Levi on the helmet with his second delivery and dismissed him soon after. Under pressure, South Africa's innings lost direction in the next five overs. AB de Villiers was out to a low catch from Guptill, which was referred to the third umpire, and Duminy and Ontong could only accumulate in ones and twos.

Ontong broke the boundary drought in style, mowing Williamson for four consecutive sixes over the midwicket boundary, hitting each ball further back into the stands than the one before. Southee was brought back to control the damage and took a sharp return catch to dismiss Ontong and end the partnership on 50. Duminy did not let that setback slow him down, though, adding three more boundaries to finish as South Africa's top scorer.

After missing the last match against Zimbabwe because of a groin niggle, Guptill picked up where he had left off. He started by smacking Tsotsobe down the ground in his first over, and drove and hooked Albie Morkel. His best was saved for Tsotsobe - two massive sixes, measuring 102 and 127 metres, over the midwicket boundary.

Rusty Theron took the wicket of Rob Nicol with his first ball to end the opening partnership on 49, but followed up with a wide and a no-ball. South Africa's fast bowlers struggled to find rhythm on a pitch that was better suited to slower bowlers, of which the visitors had only one specialist in the XI.

de Villiers turned to JP Duminy in the 13th over and he had immediate success. His second delivery spun just enough to bowl Brendon McCullum off the inside edge. Instead of giving the other slow bowler in the side, Justin Ontong, a go, de Villiers persisted with the quicks, who could not tie Guptill down. Guptill got hit on the helmet by Theron, and saw both Kane Williamson and Colin de Grandhomme dismissed, but hung around to see New Zealand through to victory.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 19, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    forgot where i left off. . .marchant is only 21 and rushing your boys 2day for pace. . . tell me how do you think you will fair against a bowling attack that consists of 3 150+ bowlers (steyn, morkell and de lange) not only that phillander who the aussies and sri lankans (both far superior teams) were unable do handle, oh yeah and we can chuck in the greatest all-rounder the game has even been lucky to witness (whos bowling stats are probably better than most of the kiwi bowlers) just as a fill in bowler! so i think the black cap fan need to just keep check of there mouths for now because its a very long 7 weeks!! and dont believe for a second that this is completely byes( i guess it is) but i have been a fan of the black caps for many years and love the cricket they play, and believe the limited overs will be closely fought. .but believe this we will win all 3 series despite the black cap fans delusions of grandeur!!finally what you have seen 2day wasnt even our best cricket! :)

  • dummy4fb on February 19, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    now now. . . where do i begin?? i guess firstly i want to start with this question, is new zealand so far away that they dont even get cricket from the rest of the world? i mean some of the comments made by you kiwis would be gold dust in a comedy club!! to think that you have the audacity to make these comments after 1 T20 win on home soil about a team that is and has been so far on the other side of the spectrum of world crickets listing for so long, leads me to believe that you (a) only get coverage of your own series or (b) that black cap supporters are very ill-informed fans!! for those of you out there who believe that this south african side is weak i would like you to understand 1 thing. . .our cricket in south africa is at a point that we dont need to play the likes of steyn or kallis, we have youngsters we can experiment with and after today prove they are more than a match for the so-called world beaters . . . 1 of those youngsters being marchant de lange who buy the way

  • Magnum_Octopus on February 19, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    BTW - congrats NZ for a great win on Friday - likewise SA for a great win today

  • Magnum_Octopus on February 19, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    @Maccanui: was tonight enough of a fight for you? @ Yeshwanth: please use the term choker sparingly - it smacks of arrogance much greater than you Kiwi supporters accuse Saffers of

  • shovwar on February 18, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Saffers brag about their Test team not t2o team...i donno what u guys are talking about. Even Bangladesh can win an odd t20 against SA...the REAL cricket is test matter how hard NZ is at home they would get thrashed. SA did it in Aus, Eng and to some extend India at their home...NZ at home maybe hard but not Aus or India at any extend. They are a t2o team. A good one.

  • Meety on February 18, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Well done NZ, fired a warning shot across the Saffas bow. I think NZ will be tough to beat in NZ, they are forming a good bowling unit. Limited overs are their stronger suit.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    I dont like to double post; but 'incantation' and 'tompuffin' have points with the recent and current form of NZ (Guptil creating solid opening partnerships), it will only be a matter of time before SA crack and unleash hells fury against the NZ squad (which needs to be thrashed everyone now and then to obtain that fighting spirit for the T20I Cup)

  • nzplayer on February 18, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    ive been watching cricket for over 15 years and that 6 from guppy is the biggest i have ever seen 127m when it hit the very top of the roof..

  • incantation on February 18, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    NZ are suddenly a stronger team it seems, so many new guys all doing well, I think the SA series followed by their away series vs west will see a better all round side from NZ, I mean if Guptill keeps going ballastic then they get put in a strong position up front, hopefully they are not just on some lucky winning streak and then see them slump back to their old selves, as the side that can thrash bangladesh and zimbabwe, but has difficulty with bigger teams. What ever happens I think they are now a better side in all formats and SA could be going home disappointed. Their T20 side was not impressive at all, yes they'll come back stronger in the other formats, but they are in NZ, and beating NZ in NZ is usually a challenge.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    People seem to forget New Zealand are the 3rd Ranked T20 team in the world

    Also in ODIS.. remember who knocked out SA in the world cup ?? yep New Zealand

    Who just beat Australia in a test when nobody else can ?? New Zealand..

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