South Africa v New Zealand, 3rd Twenty20, Port Elizabeth December 26, 2012

South Africa take series; Davids, Phangiso star


South Africa 179 for 6 (Davids 68, McClenaghan 2-24) beat New Zealand 146 for 9 (McCullum 25, McLaren 3-25, Phangiso 3-25) by 33 runs Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa won the first trophy available to them in their home summer with victory in the three-match Twenty20 series. After piling on the fifth highest score posted in the shortest format (at both international and domestic level) at St George's Park, thanks largely to an 89-run third wicket stand between Henry Davids and Justin Ontong, Aaron Phangiso and Ryan McLaren ensured South Africa defended it comfortably.

All of New Zealand's bowlers save for Mitchell McClenaghan and Ronnie Hira failed to read the pace of the Port Elizabeth pitch. Against the aggression of Davids and Ontong they gave away too many runs which allowed the pair to lay the launch-pad for take-off.

New Zealand did not have the batsmen to do the same. With Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum at the crease, there was some hope. Once the dominoes began to fall, there was no stopping the slide. Still, New Zealand competed with the hosts with more heart than was expected of them to set the tone ahead for the Test matches.

As an example of their ability to ruffle feathers, New Zealand had the hosts in early trouble, even in the absence of Richard Levi. South Africa's opening partnership stuttered again when Faf du Plessis, who was promoted to bat in his preferred top-two spot, was bowled by Ronnie Hira as he attempted to hit through mid-wicket.

Levi's omission also meant Quinton de Kock was given more responsibility at No. 3 but his inexperience showed. Instead of rotating strike while Davids kept going, de Kock tried to loft McClenaghan over long-on and got a leading edge. Corey Anderson ran from mid-off to take the catch at mid-on and de Kock's series with the bat ended without him living up to the hype.

Davids had none of the same expectation but exceeded all hopes. He displayed a range of classical shots, tinged only with some extra intent. The drive off the back foot and the pull shot were his hallmarks but more notable than that was that he scored off almost every ball he faced. Both he and Ontong pushed each other between the wickets and put pressure on the New Zealand fielders.

The only chance they offered was when Davids went aerial against Doug Bracewell and lobbed the ball to Martin Guptill at short extra cover. Guptill seemed to lose the ball in the background and although he got fingers to it, spilt the chance. Davids was on 32 and went on to more than double his score.

As Davids grew in confidence, so did Ontong, whose assurance swelled against James Franklin. Ontong hit him for back to back sixes: down the ground and then to deep mid-wicket but Franklin won the mini-battle when Ontong was caught trying to send another slower ball over the leg-side boundary. Still, he had taken 16 runs off the five balls he faced in that over and South Africa had 116 runs and seven wickets in hand as they approached the last five overs.

Those turned out to the most profitable, even though Davids departed mid-way through. South Africa added 63 runs in the final quarter of their innings, thanks to their big-hitters. Farhaan Behardien and David Miller both struck the ball cleanly against New Zealand's clueless death bowlers.

Contrastingly, South Africa's attack had a firm grip on what was required. Ryan McClaren had Rob Nicol lbw in the first over when he was struck in line of middle and offstump. Guptill showed glimpses of the form he displayed three days ago when his 101 took New Zealand to victory. He drove with power and was assisted by McCullum, who seemed to finally find his placement.

Just as the two settled, Guptill tried to paddle Phangiso over short fine-leg but was caught by Robin Peterson. Phangiso claimed another big scalp in his next over when McCullum thought he had got him over long-off but was caught on the boundary.

New Zealand remained in the hunt and after 11 overs had the same score South Africa had posted - 71 - but had lost two more wickets. Colin Munro edged a McLaren short ball and James Franklin swung to long-on to give Phangiso his third. The point of no return was reached when Morne Morkel leapt to his left at short third man to send Jimmy Neesham on his way.

The required run rate climbed to over 14 to an over with six to go and only last rites were left to be performed. Rory Kleinveldt took the ninth wicket but Morne Morkel finished without reward as a new South African era made itself known. For New Zealand, there remains much to work on. They were suspected to have bled 20 runs too many but in the end, were almost double that short.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • greig on December 29, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    Fidrose is clearly not a quinton de knock fan, well most cricket followers are. A 20yr old who bats at 3 or 4 is a rare talent and he is a wicketkeeper!!! (Was keeper at school btw)

    T20 or pyjama cricket is a breeding ground for identifying talent for the ODI and test team. From an sa perspective players that I think deserve ODI call up are Q de kock, phangiso and David's. (excluding current ODI players like Morne and Faff, etc). Ontong, berhadien, Levi have all had their chances but never taken them.

  • Jeremy on December 28, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    @Voorblad Going to x2.5 the amount of wickets too for T20 to justify your equation? Big win is saying the opposition had next to no chance on winning, but NZ had a fair chance most of the way, until loss of wickets and good bowling which made the difference swing SA's way. Embarrassing is when a team has already lost half way through the match, like what AUS did to SL today.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    De kock looked good behind the stumps and with kallis retiring in the within the next 5 years the proteas will need de kock to keep wicket as they don't have a all rounder who can replace kallis. De villiers needs to give up keeping in test matches aa its not helping his back and the proteas need him more as a batsmen especially when kallis retires. If South Africa can give van der merwe or phangiso a run in the test side the bowling attack will look more balanced as they are lacking a spinner.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @Cricketfan64, Quinton de Kock has been a keeper-batsmen since high school, how on earth are they now forcing the gloves on him? I didn't see him make a single big mistake in the T20Is; he looked perfectly comfortable at keeper.

  • Grant on December 27, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    What does surprise me we are suddenly looking for a wicket keeper and here we have a talented youngster De kock who everybody has penned in has the next best thing to Mark Boucher. Here a few points.

    1. De Kock is not a wicket keeper and we should not be looking for batsmen who we can make into a wicky we have some very good wicket keepers who are not bad batsmen like Rudi Seconds very good keeper and very good batsmen and only just turned 23 there is our answer.

    I am sure Q De Kock will be a great batsmen for the future but dont force him on the wickets keeper area that will not help.

  • Sello on December 27, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    you know this was suppose to be SA vs NZ, the last thing I expected was bitter indians and as usual whinning aussies and poms. Chill, you had your chance came and we panel beated you in your own backyards. As for indians your chance will come next year december.

  • Lawrence on December 27, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    The problem SA is faced with whenever playing NZ is that the pressure is on to win, and if the win isn't huge, the SA team will be criticized for being 'average'. Let's not forget how NZ beat SA in the big tournaments and how young the SA team is. With the series 1-1, the 'rookies' showed they can handle the series decider. Even with the loss of two early wickets and the possibility of an early collapse, it was the 'rookies' who accelerated to finish at almost 9 per over.

    Okay, maybe it's just T20 and bubblegum cricket, but it's probably the closest NZ will push SA in the tour. We're looking forward to the Test series with the skills of Kallis, Amla, de Villiers, Steyn and Phillander on show. What more can NZ bring to make a contest of this?

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    maf17 - you're correct about the Boxing Day Test being a premium event unless, of course, the opposition is someone like Sri Lanka, who barely scraped past 150 runs while Australia will only have to bat once.

  • Jon on December 27, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    The least impressive cricketers can shine in the least important format. In fairness to Davids he looks like a proper cricketer. Ontong is your bog standard talentless T20 cricketer who would naver have the ability to make test match runs. Don't really rate this SA attack at all. They are two injuries away from being your bog standard test match side. Not much reserves in the fast bowling department.

  • Jacques on December 27, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    @Hawk89 How is 33 runs a big win?? well let's see, 33 run win in 20 overs = 82.5 run win in ODI, that's pretty big.