South Africa v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Potchefstroom January 25, 2013

McLaren's last-ball six gives South Africa win


South Africa 264 for 9 (Smith 116) beat New Zealand 260 for 9 (Munro 57, Elliott 54, Franklin 53*, Tsotsobe 4-45, McLaren 4-52) by one wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa nearly messed up another run chase, but Ryan McLaren's six off the final ball ensured they avoided their first limited-overs whitewash on home soil by securing a gripping one-wicket victory in Potchefstroom. Graeme Smith's tenth ODI hundred was guiding the innings only for another uncertain display from the middle and lower order to mean the game was never dead and it came down to needing three off the last ball.

James Franklin, who the ball before had Dale Steyn caught at deep midwicket, tried to bowl wide of off stump and McLaren responded by scooping him over fine leg. Still, while the crowd went wild, South Africa's celebrations, after the initial relief, were muted as they had still come second best in this series and, barring Smith, their batting performance was again one to raise concerns.

New Zealand never gave up and deserve immense credit for how they turned their fortunes around during this one-day series. For a side that fielded outstandingly, though, they will regret one moment when McLaren, on 6, was dropped at deep midwicket by Jimmy Neesham who approached the catch far too casually.

While Smith was at the crease the chase, while never simple, was under control. He had brought up his hundred with consecutive boundaries off Kane Williamson but attempting to loft the same bowler down the ground picked out long-on with 32 still needed from 26 balls. Rory Kleinveldt and Aaron Phangiso then both fell swinging across the line at Mitchell McClenaghan to set up the grandstand final over where eight were needed with two wickets in hand.

But Smith's innings deserved to be a matchwinner. During the course of his 130-ball stay he moved second in the list of all-time run-scorers for South Africa in ODIs, now just behind Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs. Early on he was given plenty on the pads to pick off, but the cover drive, not often a shot associated with Smith, twice made an appearance.

His opening stand of 83 with Quinton de Kock laid the ideal base to chase 260 but after de Kock misjudged his pull against Franklin the innings stalled as New Zealand applied pressure. Nathan McCullum's offspin was hard to score off and when South Africa called for the Powerplay in the 27th over Colin Ingram pulled the first ball of it to midwicket.

More loose shots followed, with Smith watching on from the other end. Faf du Plessis also picked out midwicket against Kyle Mills, Farhaan Behardien chipped a catch back to Williamson who did well to hold on while colliding with Smith and David Miller played a hot-headed hoick across the line shortly after Smith had reached his hundred. At 205 for 5 in the 42nd over New Zealand were back in contention and when they removed Smith the whitewash was on the cards, but McLaren managed to keep his cool.

New Zealand had earlier recovered impressively to reach 260, after familiar problems at the top of the order left them 68 for 4, with Grant Elliott, Colin Munro and Franklin hitting half-centuries. South Africa will again be concerned about how they could not finish off an innings with the ball as well as they had started.

Elliott, who played an important innings in Kimberley, began binding the innings together. Munro grew as his stay progressed and at one stage lofted Steyn for six having already taken debutant Phangiso for three boundaries in an over during a maiden international fifty. He had been given lbw against McLaren when he had 2 but he correctly reviewed as the ball had pitched outside leg and also took an inside edge.

Eventually, however, both batsmen fell to Lonwabo Tsotsobe who had made the early breakthroughs with the new ball. Elliott was the second wicket of the innings to be caught at third man and Munro edged a slower ball. New Zealand, though, benefited from their deep batting order which has been key throughout this series. South Africa, who were again slow with their overs but escaped punishment from match referee David Boon, also gave a helping hand by conceded 17 wides.

Losing regular wickets meant Franklin could not cut loose, but he took the innings as deep as he could with some smart batting. He managed to keep the strike after the ninth wicket fell in the 48th over and the final 11 balls of the innings brought 26 runs, including a six off the penultimate delivery to reach his fifty. It was enough to set up an engrossing finish.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gavin on January 27, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Musab, do you easily forget that Pak are poor on wickets in SA and Australia? They just got bowed out for 329 against a club attack in the warm up game. Anyways, looking forward to a good series, good luck with that deadly attack.

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    am astonished the way NZ played this ODI series..hats off to them, i always thought about them as a "weak" team..due to their poor performances on ASIAN wickets, but honestly they proved me wrong and showed their capability...A thriller game of cricket comes to a nail-bitting finish...well played NZ, u deserved it...Now its time for Pak to beat SA, beware of PAK's Bowling attack "the deadliest bowling attack" of cricket!

  • Dave on January 26, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    So much hype and hysteria about a potential 3 match "series whitewash". A backhanded compliment to the Proteas, expected to win 100% of everything. The winners were the crowd, full value till 10pm at a great country ground.

  • Jackie on January 26, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Wonderful game to watch as NZ never gave up. Just thrilling cricket. It is a lesson for everyone that a game is rarely dead if 11 players are absolutely fighting to the last ball. I watched the previous game as well when NZ won. Tremendous credit to them away from home. The game was absorbing all the way and a real advert for ODIs because the excitement didn't just depend on the last few overs. It ebbed and flowed and every ball seemed vital - as it should be. It was played in great spirit as well. Congrats to both sides.

  • John on January 26, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Well done SA. I remember the incident where NZ were short changed a ball and thought at the time that it would unlikely be a potential issue. However on this occasion it was that tight. I wonder if the commentary team may be allowed to liaise with the officials to limit the chances of the shortened over happening again Great finish to the game with many twists and turns

  • Gavin on January 26, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Well done NZ for winning this ODI series. I wouldnt get too caried away though as SA were rotating bowlers and missing 4 batsmen. That makes for a C side, never mind a B squad. Excellent win for NZ away from home though as this might take a little sting out of getting hammered in the test series where they never really showed up at all.

  • Sharky on January 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Last night was a brilliant nail-biting game to finish a wonderful ODI Series. I've thought Graeme Smith would have been asked to captain the last game of the series in AB's absence, but Faf knew he could rely on Smith for help. And it was entertaining to see Smith reaching a brilliant hundred in his own relax way. He already showed intense improvement at Kimberley. And Ryan McLaren had a brilliant all-rounder game. He did for South Africa what Franklin did for New Zealand the other night. His last six on the last ball to win the game, was the shot of the day. But hats off to New Zealand for winning the ODI series. Their ODI ranking, before the series, vs South Africa's ODI ranking, and they had to play in South African conditions after they just have been whipped in the Test Series, gave them almost no chance to win this ODI series. You have to point out the whole squad for brilliant spirit, but I would like to point out McCulum's captaincy, Franklin, Williamson and McClenaghan.

  • Jon on January 26, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @ Glenn10 James Fuller is a 22-year old New Zealand cricketer who bowls right arm fast. He played in the New Zealand U-19 cricket team, and currently plays county cricket in Gloucestershire. He can bowl 140-145kph and looks like a good prospect. You can see him on YouTube getting smashed for 38 off one over by Scott Styris.

  • alesana on January 26, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Is it me or does anyone remember during the NZ innings SA bowled one ball short in one of the overs towards the end of the NZ innings? I may be wrong but I remember the umpires miscounting one over. If I'm right that means SA only bowled 49.5 overs to NZ 50. I was watching on T.V & I remember the commentators mentioning this at the time.

  • Glenn on January 26, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Lucky win for SA, but thats the way it goes. Overall the fact we won the ODI series, the tour will probably be claimed as a success. Maybe if we had got allot closer in the Tests? This tour has exposed a allot things: McCullum thinks he is better than what he is, Guptil is limited to flat pitches along with Franklin - meaning they are ODI and T20 players only. Elliott looks good and is a late bloomer. He has better batting technique than some of the test players - Excluding Watling, Williamson and Brownlie of course. Maybe Elliott is a Test option? This is the tour we needed to have as we now know several guys like Flynn and Wagner have proven they aren't up to it. They should be pleading with Taylor to take back the Test Captaincy as McCullum needs to work on his batting don't you think? PS: Can anyone tell me who JK Fuller is? I note he took 6/24 (10/79 in match) for Otago after they had just scored 600 plus. This suggests it was a good batting pitch, making 6/24 really impressive.

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