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December 21, 2012
South Africa 87 for 2 (du Plessis 38*) beat New Zealand 86 (Kleinveldt 3-18, Peterson 2-8) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It is early days for New Zealand in South Africa, but in the opening Twenty20 at Kingsmead there was a gulf between the teams that does not bode well for the tour. New Zealand crumbled for 86, only just avoiding a new record low in the format, before the home side cantered to their target with more than seven overs to spare.
A callow batting order, with much resting on new captain Brendon McCullum, was always likely to struggle, especially after just one warm-up match to prepare but it was still a hugely disappointing effort. South Africa, though, under a new captain and coach, looked primed for the home season with their only sour note when debutant Chris Morris picked up a leg injury.
It was obvious that Ross Taylor's absence would leave a vast hole and Martin Guptill was also ruled out of this match with a stomach bug, but the top order did not give itself much of a chance on a slightly two-paced surface. The batsmen paid the price for too much aggression too early, perhaps in an eagerness to exploit the Powerplay. Doug Bracewell, at No. 9, made an unbeaten 21 to at least lift them over the 80 they made against Pakistan in 2010.
Rory Kleinveldt struck with his first ball with one that bounced a touch more against Rob Nicol to give Quinton de Kock, the debutant wicketkeeper, his first catch. De Kock, who turned 20 earlier this week, was one of seven new caps (three for South Africa, four for New Zealand) handed out between the teams for this match as the sides looked to start afresh after a poor World Twenty20.
Dale Steyn had Peter Fulton caught at mid-on before Kleinveldt claimed the key wicket of McCullum who top-edged a hook and was well caught by Steyn running backwards from short fine-leg. After the six-over Powerplay, New Zealand were already tottering at 27 for 3 and it didn't get better although James Franklin may have received a harsh decision with suggestions the ball brushed his arm when attempting to hook.
Morris, another of the debutants, claimed his first international scalp when Corey Anderson, also in his first match, clubbed to mid-off and later added Colin Munro who at least had shown some decent shot-selection before slogging across the line. However, Morris could not complete his allocation after suffering what appeared to be a muscle strain with two balls remaining. Last week he was ruled out of the domestic one-day final with a quad injury so questions will be asked about whether he was ready for this match.
Between Morris's two wickets spin also made a mark as Robin Peterson gained from the slightly tricky nature of the surface. However, it was nowhere near as tough as the scoreline suggested. With New Zealand left to try and bat out the overs - which they failed to do - Peterson was able to collect South Africa's most economical figures in Twenty20 (2 for 8).
South Africa's chase did not start smoothly when the under-pressure Richard Levi edged Mitchell McClenaghan, a left-arm seamer to add to the plethora of that style New Zealand can call on, to first slip but captain Faf du Plessis and Henry Davids, making his debut at the age of 32, were soon into their stride.
Davids was off the mark with a ungainly hack which he edged past leg stump but also sliced a six over deep point while du Plessis drove beautifully through the off side. De Kock, who has come into the international amid much hype, began in eye-catching style by lofting his third ball straight down the ground and showed a touch of class through the off side.
To compound New Zealand's problems some of their ground fielding would have shamed a club side. It really was a horrid evening for them. Twenty20 was meant to be a format where they might, just, have pushed South Africa but on this evidence that theory appears far-fetched.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test