Guptill drives electric NZ to big victory
New Zealand 177 for 7 (Guptill 60, Rabada 3-30) beat South Africa 145 for 8 (Behardien 36, Sodhi 2-27) by 32 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa have only once successfully chased a score of 170-plus in T20 cricket, and New Zealand made sure it stayed that way. Kane Williamson's line-up put right what they did wrong two days ago, and built on their start with the bat to allow for a flourishing finish. Their attack adapted and studded South Africa's scorecard with scalps to ensure the hosts were never quite in a chase of 178.
Unlike Durban, where the temperatures stay tropical even in the dry winter, the arid air in Centurion has an effect and both teams thought that would warrant the inclusion of two specialist spinners on a parched, cracked surface. Both teams opened with a spinner, but neither got the desired result.
Aaron Phangiso's first ball was hammered wide of a diving AB de Villiers at cover, while Nathan McCullum's first over was boundary-less, but only because Williamson pulled off an exceptional stop and mid-off. Instead, it was a strip for seamers but only those willing to bend their backs. The short ball proved an effective weapon as Mitchell McClenaghan showed, but South Africa did not make as much use of it as they should have.
For the second match in succession, they went too full and New Zealand took advantage. The visitors scored 64 runs in the v which amounted to more than a third of their total. By contrast, South Africa only managed 26 runs down the ground and lost both Morne van Wyk and David Miller to the short ball, while only Farhaan Behardien, with a career-best 36, put up something of a fight.
Behardien was the only South African who had reason to celebrate - he also took his first T20 wicket when Martin Guptill holed out to a full toss - but by then New Zealand were already faring better than they had on Friday night.
Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott provided plenty that was pitched up, and Williamson and Guptill plundered runs over their heads. Their partnership was worth 50 when Williamson sliced Rabada to deep third man and when Guptill was dropped two overs later, New Zealand looked ready to replay their Kingsmead collapse.
But South Africa were unable to enforce the same squeeze. Guptill was on 38 when Miller put him down, and he added another 22 runs to his score, mostly by taking on the spinners. He brought up his sixth T20 fifty - the only one of the game - with a slog sweep off Eddie Leie and breached the boundary one more time before holing out to a full-toss offered by Behardien.
Grant Elliott followed Guptill in the following over when he was trapped on the front pad by a tossed up delivery from Phangiso, but still, New Zealand did not slow down. They scored 63 runs off the last seven overs as Neesham and Colin Munro brought out an array of strokes, with Munro taking 18 runs off Abbott's third over with clean strokes down the ground.
Rabada had Neesham and Munro dismissed in consecutive balls to find himself on a hat-trick for the second time in the series. Abbott did not enjoy the same fortune, though, and went wicketless for the third international match in a row.
South Africa were never able to get on a similar roll. Van Wyk was cramped for room on the pull and caught behind in the third over, and Hashim Amla was caught at point in the fourth which meant an unsteady start.
De Villiers, Rilee Rossouw, Farhaan Behardien and Miller all had the opportunity to put that right but none showed the patience required to do that. De Villiers departed cheaply, going for one big shot too many and Rossouw, who showed proficiency against both pace and spin, came out of his crease to pull Ish Sodhi and found short midwicket which left Behardien and Miller to score 103 runs in the second half of the South Africa innings.
Scoreboard pressure increased when they found the boundary only four times in the five overs that followed and Behardien, although comfortable, through caution to the wind. He slog-swept a Nathan McCullum full toss to deep mid-wicket to begin South Africa's slide. A wicket fell in each of the next three overs as the pressure told. New Zealand offered deliveries South Africa could not resist hitting and the visitors' fielding was sharp enough to take the chances.
Behardien, David Wiese, Phangiso and Miller joined de Villiers, Rossouw, Amla and van Wyk in falling to big shots, but the lower-middle order's collapse was more dramatic. South Africa lost 4 for 19, stubbed out of the chase and were forced to share the series spoils.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent