James Franklin batted skillfully with the tail to secure a tense one-wicket upset win for New Zealand in the first one-day international against South Africa at Boland Park on Saturday.
Franklin hit 47 not out as the last three New Zealand wickets added 104 runs in a low-scoring match after South Africa had been bowled out for 208.
He put on 35 for the eighth wicket with Nathan McCullum (24) and 47 for the ninth wicket with Kyle Mills. When Mills was bowled by Ryan McLaren for 26 there were still 22 runs needed, but Franklin successfully farmed the strike before hitting McLaren through the covers for the winning boundary.
“It was incredibly satisfying to come up against the top side in the world, be under pressure and come through,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said.
Franklin, whose runs came off 61 balls, said: “We were trying to bat as deep as we could. We know these [lower order] guys are no mugs with the bat.”
It was a heartening result for New Zealand at the start of the three-match series after they lost both Test matches by an innings.
“We came up against an incredible team in the Test matches, but we know we can compete in the shorter forms of the game,” McCullum said.
“We were not at our best today,” South African captain AB de Villiers said. “We were probably at about 80 percent. New Zealand deserved to win.”
McLaren seemed to have won the game for South Africa before Franklin’s final flurry of strokes. He had shared a crucial 59-run sixth wicket partnership with top scorer Faf du Plessis (57) as South Africa were bowled out for 208 after being sent in to bat.
Then McLaren took 4-46. He bowled BJ Watling for 45, trapped Jimmy Neesham two balls later for nought and then broke two late partnerships when he dismissed Nathan McCullum and Mills.
Opening bowler Mitchell McClenaghan took 4-20 on debut as New Zealand’s bowlers exerted tight control. McClenaghan took the key wickets of Graeme Smith and de Villiers and followed up with two late wickets.
Part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson took 4-22 as the South African batsmen failed to master some steady bowling on a slow pitch.
Du Plessis made a dogged 57 off 71 balls, hitting three boundaries in a South African innings which included only 12 fours and four sixes. Three of the sixes were hit by tailender Rory Kleinveldt off four balls from Mills in making all 26 runs in a last wicket stand with Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Kleinveldt followed up with the wickets of Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Grant Elliott to cap a successful debut in 50-over internationals.
INDIA V ENGLAND
India needed only 28.1 overs to overhaul England’s 155 all out to win by seven wickets in the third one-day international in Ranchi, India, on Saturday.
Virat Kohli scooped the Player of the Match award for his 77 not out off 79 balls, while all the Indian bowlers chipped in to dismiss England in only 42.2 overs. Joe Root top-scored for the visitors with 39.
India lead the five-match series 2-1.
Additional reporting by staff writer