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January 19, 2013
After his ice-cool 47 guided New Zealand to a one-wicket victory over South Africa in Paarl, James Franklin has targeted a first ODI series win in the country. New Zealand have only won three ODIs out of 19 in South Africa against the home side, and were battered in the just-concluded two Test series as well.
Franklin was well aware of the challenge ahead for New Zealand in the three-match series. "We are under no illusions … we have to be almost at our best, if not our best, to compete with these guys," Franklin said. "Particularly over here in South Africa, we don't have a great track record here in one-day cricket, now we have got a real chance of maybe winning a one-day series."
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was also full of praise for his side after the narrow win. "The gutsy and gritty performance under some fairly extreme pressure, scorecard pressure, the guys really stood up," McCullum said. "To come up against the No. 1 team in the world in their own conditions as well, be behind the eight ball and still find a way to win is great for us, the guys are certainly enjoying the moment."
South Africa looked to be in control of the game for much of New Zealand's chase of 209, especially once the visitors were reduced to 105 for 7. Franklin was the only recognised batsman in the middle, but he forged partnerships with Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills to keep New Zealand alive.
"We knew we were ahead of the run-rate, we knew it was a case of trying to bat as deep as we could, and take the game as deep as we could," Franklin said. "Nathan's and Kyle's attitude was that, if we can bat 50 overs, we can get across the line, and we snuck in with four overs to go."
For the final few runs, Franklin had last man and debutant Mitchell McClanaghan for company. Despite the ball reverse-swinging, McClanaghan survived long enough for Franklin to knock off the remaining runs. "Mitch came out and he had to get through four balls initially to Ryan [McLaren]," Franklin said. "He was resolute in defence, then it was a case of me being a bit more aggressive, it had to be me to get the majority of the runs with one wicket left."
McClanaghan had been hugely impressive with the ball earlier in the day, taking 4 for 20, the best figures for a New Zealand player on ODI debut. "Mitch has bowled really well in one-day cricket back home, particularly last season," Franklin said. "He's obviously here now seeing where he fits in international cricket, he started very well in the Twenty20 series, he's an attacking bowler, he swings it and he's pretty nippy. Today was just outstanding, for a guy to come in and do that on debut against South Africa in their own backyard."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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