Williamson and run-outs inspire NZ to series
New Zealand 279 for 8 (Williamson 145*) beat South Africa 252 (Ingram 79, Smith 66) by 27 runs runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa have so often been the makers of their own downfall and five run outs scuppered their chase in Kimberley as New Zealand secured their first series win in any format in South Africa. One of the lights that can lead them out of this tough period - Kane Williamson - produced a magnificent unbeaten century that deserved to win a series. New Zealand's tenacity in the field ensured it did.
Graeme Smith, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Rory Kleinveldt and Farhaan Behardien were all run out as South Africa's chase crumbled from a comfortable position of 167 for 1 in the 31st over. It equalled the record for the most run outs in an ODI innings and contributed to a calamitous collapse of 9 for 85.
It was unimaginable that the current New Zealand team could be the group to win the country's first series in South Africa, but after being humiliated in the Test series they have a remarkable achievement to take home.
This second win was set up by the best batting performance of the tour: a career-best international score by Williamson. His unbeaten 145 not out was superbly paced. He negotiated a nervous opening having come to the crease in the third over at 0 for 1, then accelerated in a hundred partnership with Grant Elliott, rebuilt after New Zealand had endured a collapse of their own, before providing a final punch that produced a competitive target.
But competitive is all the target appeared on a balmy evening with a flat, hard, grassless wicket. South Africa were on course as Graeme Smith and Colin Ingram added 129 in 22 overs.
New Zealand craved a breakthrough, wishing for any of the several chances they spurned in the first ODI, and were suddenly gifted a path back into the match. It was James Franklin - who brought New Zealand home in Paarl - that began the feast of run-outs with a slide to save Ingram's back cut at third man. His return was pint-point over the bails and a sluggish Smith was short diving in for a third run.
Faf du Plessis - standing in as captain with AB de Villiers suspended - then defended Franklin into the off side and eagerly considered a single. He was rightly sent back by Ingram and was a little slow to turn, allowing enough time for Nathan McCullum to swoop in from cover and hit direct with a dive.
It was part of a fine display in the field from McCullum. He held Robin Peterson with a diving catch at extra cover after he had squeezed the run rate with his off spin, forcing Ingram to try to hit over the top and find mid-off. It was a far cry from his first over which had been taken for 17.
Further run outs came as Kleinveldt got his bat stuck in the ground a foot short of the popping crease as Martin Guptill threw down the stumps from midwicket. More lethargic running saw Behardien - on his ODI debut - beaten from the midwicket boundary. A little earlier, David Miller - a dangerous threat even as the required rate surged - was short of his ground backing up.
New Zealand had seized their chance in the field and backed up an outstanding innings from Williamson. Quality of timing is paramount for him, a diminutive figure with a limited range of strokes, but he found his touch. He shuffled across his stumps to work length balls on off stump through the leg side, put away almost anything overpitched and played the spinners well - getting deep in his crease to pull boundaries against du Plessis and using his feet well too.
Twice he skipped down to lift Peterson wide of long-on, the second occasion taking him to 99; a single backward of point brought up his third ODI hundred and the first against major opposition. He added 127 in 128 balls with Grant Elliott to earn New Zealand's first century stand of the tour. It was born out of a careful opening as just 19 came off the first ten overs; a cautious attitude understandable given previous premature collapses.
But having played watchfully, New Zealand progressed. Williamson was the chief instigator of the 62 runs that were scored in the first 10 overs outside the Powerplay. The innings had been running to plan with a platform in place and Brendon McCullum arriving at No. 5 with a short period to explode. But he only managed to do so three times, the best of which a straight six over Morne Morkel's head having run down the wicket. But doing so again, McCullum swung and missed and lost his leg stump. It was a waste with 12 overs of the innings left.
Colin Munro and Franklin then fell within eight balls and New Zealand looked out of power and likely to fail to take full advantage of their position. But Williamson continued to steer the innings and his efforts were ultimately rewarded.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo