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De Villiers pushes for better start with the ball

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'Enjoyed bowling under pressure' - Phangiso (2:33)

AB de Villiers and Aaron Phangiso speak to the media after South Africa's six-wicket win over New Zealand in the first T20I in Durban (2:33)

The secret to understanding sport is examining a series of moments which explain how a game is won or lost. Take the first six overs of the T20 between South Africa and New Zealand, for example.

In that period, the hosts were barely hanging on. They were still sussing out the early-season surface, which was not sprinkled with the usual spice of a South African strip. Their seamers steered away from a short-ball barrage and pitched it up instead. Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson took advantage of the fielding restrictions and the width on offer, and found the boundary 10 times in the Powerplay. New Zealand were stringing together what they thought would be the foundation of their success and AB de Villiers was unhappy with the lack of bite from his bowlers.

"It's an area we will discuss again - the first six overs because we are not as good as we wanted to be there. We wanted to be a little more aggressive," de Villiers said. "A couple balls were maybe a little bit too full, which is not a bad thing, but you also want to see the aggression."

The game changed, however, in the moments after that. Immediately after the Powerplay, de Villiers gave the ball to left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso, his last hope in stemming the flow. Phangiso's first over ended with the wicket of Williamson, who admitted he was hoping to take on the spinner but could not. "Phangiso bowled nicely and changed his pace. With the short boundaries, you think you can go after the spin but he controlled his length," Williamson said.

Phangiso, who finished with 2 for 29 in four overs, was also pleased with the show of confidence from his captain. "It was great to see the captain give me the ball under pressure," Phangiso said. "All players want to succeed under pressure. I enjoyed the pressure and I enjoyed the confidence of the captain giving me the ball at that time."

The sequence of events that followed explain how South Africa went on to win the game. David Wiese took pace off the ball, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel held back the lengths and Kyle Abbott mixed it up to keep New Zealand guessing, prompting de Villiers to call the team's bowling comeback "near perfect".

"We slowed the game down and turned the momentum around and then ran with it," de Villiers said. "All the seamers who came back for their second spells bowled really well. We mixed it up exceptionally well. The last 15 overs of our bowling performance was near perfect.

The guys had really smart plans. When I spoke to them between balls, the guys knew exactly what they wanted to do. I saw all the variations from them: yorkers, good length balls and bouncers."

As much as South Africa applied the chokehold, New Zealand allowed themselves to be cornered. "We weren't quite at our best in the last 10 overs. We know we have the firepower in that lower middle order to cash in on situations like that and we weren't quite on top of things," Williamson said.

The collapse of 7 for 40 was partly due to no one in the middle order taking responsibility of the latter part of the innings and Williamson has challenged his team-mates to change that in the next match. "It's a fine line when you lose wickets, and we lost two wickets in a row a couple of times which never helps but it takes one other bloke or two other blokes to get going and get the score moving."