A powerful batting display and disciplined bowling helped South Africa to a 33-run victory over New Zealand in the third and deciding Twenty20 International at St George’s Park on Wednesday.
Opener Henry Davids top scored with 68 from 51 balls as the Proteas posted a formidable 179-6 after winning the toss and batting first.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso and seamer Ryan McLaren then earned identical figures of 3-25 as the Black Caps subsided to a disappointing 146-9 in reply.
The home side were briefly in trouble at 26-2 until Davids was joined by Justin Ontong, who belted 48 from 30 balls during a third-wicket stand of 89 which laid the platform for a dynamic end to the innings.
David Miller struck four boundaries in 28 from 15 balls and Farhaan Behardien finished with an unbeaten 22 from just 11 deliveries.
Martin Guptill (24) and captain Brendon McCullum (25) briefly threatened to make a game of it, but the run rate proved unmanageable and wickets fell steadily with the result in little doubt from the 10th over when the Black Caps slumped to 60-4.
“South Africa played a very good game,” McCullum said. “There were some clutch moments and they stood up and applied some pressure. Against a good side, they expose you.
“We weren’t quite at our best, but throughout the series we’ve seen some improvements and we can take some heart out of the series,” he said.
Faf du Plessis, who captained South Africa for the first time during the series, said he believed his team had played consistently well.
“It’s a young team and there’s so much energy,” he said.
The tourists now play a three-day match against provincial side Boland in Paarl starting today in preparation for the first of two Test matches which begin in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Mitchell McClenaghan, originally picked only for the Twenty20 series, will stay on to replace the injured Tim Southee for the Test series.
McClenaghan, a left-arm medium-fast bowler, has yet to play a Test. The 26-year-old has taken 76 wickets at 39.03 in 26 first-class matches.
Additional reporting by staff writer