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Report

De Kock finds form before rain prevails

The third ODI in Hamilton began under overcast skies, and in the 31st over of the game the drizzle had got heavy enough to take the players off. They never came back on

Match abandoned South Africa 157 for 3 (de Kock 80*) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by ball details
After two matches blessed with fair weather in Mount Maunganui, the third ODI in Hamilton began under overcast skies, and in the 31st over of the game the drizzle had got heavy enough to take the players off. They never came back on. South Africa had been well placed in challenging conditions, though, because Quinton de Kock ended a run of five poor scores with a brisk half-century.
Both teams had made changes for the dead rubber. Despite needing to sweep the series 3-0 to stay the No. 1 ranked team in ODIs, South Africa rested Dale Steyn, while Imran Tahir and Faf du Plessis were also given a break because of niggles. New Zealand benched Daniel Vettori and Trent Boult, as they continued to search for a settled combination in their build-up to the 2015 World Cup.
New Zealand's attack had plenty of assistance, which backed up Brendon McCullum's decision to bowl. The pitch had bounce, and the ball swung and seamed in the gloom. The fast bowlers - Tim Southee apart - were inaccurate, though, and unable to prevent South Africa scoring freely despite dismissing three of the top five batsmen cheaply.
Matt Henry, playing his second ODI nine months after taking a four wickets on debut, began with two deliveries on the pads that de Kock flicked and drove for boundaries to fine leg and midwicket. Henry's morning improved, though, and he dismissed Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw with balls that seemed to grip the surface, making the batsmen play early as a result. Amla lobbed a catch to midwicket, while Henry dived across the pitch himself to catch Rossouw, who suffered his fourth duck in six ODI innings.
There were boundary balls on offer often and de Kock freed his arms to slice through point and drive through cover when Henry gave him width. David Miller, competing with Rossouw for a spot in South Africa's World Cup XI, was promoted to No. 4, a rare opportunity for him to build the innings as opposed to finish it. He began brightly, with three powerfully struck boundaries, before yorking himself by stepping out to Jimmy Neesham.
At 70 for 3 in the 17th over, New Zealand were beginning to take a grip on the game, but de Kock and AB de Villiers put on 87 runs at more than a run a ball. De Kock thrived on leg-stump lines and nine of his 11 fours came on the on-side through glances, flicks, pulls and on-drives. He moved past 50 off 67 balls and looked set for a sixth ODI century before the innings was curtailed. De Villiers wasn't at his best but still managed to tick along and just under a run a ball.
While Neesham and Henry struggled with wides, and McClenaghan was no-balled twice for knocking over the bails during his delivery stride, Southee was the pick of the bowlers. He had troubled Amla with swing in both directions, and in the 31st over Southee harried de Villiers with successive bouncers in slippery conditions. The first one hit the top edge of de Villiers' attempted pull and the second hit his helmet. The umpires asked for the covers to be brought on immediately, and the rain did not stop, leaving South Africa the No. 1 ranked side after a 2-0 series victory.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo