ANDILE PHEHLUKWAYO continued to enhance his growing all-round reputation by providing crucial late support for AB de Villiers as the Standard Bank Proteas sealed a nail-biting, four-wicket win over New Zealand in their rain-affected, first One-Day International (ODI) of a five-match series in Hamilton on Sunday.
Victory helped South Africa equal their record of 12 wins a row, the most consecutive for them in ODIs. They first achieved this record sequence in 2005 under the leadership of Graeme Smith. Australia hold the current record with a mammoth 21 wins during their unprecedented reign in 2003.
The result at Seddon Park was sealed by youngster Phehlokwayo after he plundered two sixes and two fours in his 29 not out off 23 balls to take the Proteas past their 208 victory-target with a delivery to spare in their 34-over-a-side affair.
Phehlukwayo, playing in just his 11th ODI, shared in a vital unbroken 54-run stand with De Villiers (37 off 34 balls, 3 fours) – the captain playing a measured innings – after a middle-order collapse saw the visitors lose four wickets in 14 balls. That came after Quinton de Kock fired up front with a 10th half-century for his country to set the South Africans on their way at the start of the chase.
De Kock made 69 (64 balls, 9 fours, 1 six) and shared in an 88-run opening stand with Hashim Amla (35), before they hit problems and had to be eventually rescued by De Villiers and Phehlukwayo, who played an equally impressive innings to help oust Australia in Durban late last year with David Miller.
Earlier in the match, it was Chris Morris that caused most of the damage with the ball after he claimed 4/62 in seven overs to jolt the Black Caps’ top order.
The Proteas had won the toss and opted to bowl first after rain delayed the start and once they got going, fast bowler Morris made merry by reducing the hosts for 82/4. His initial spell was 4/24 in five overs, before he came in for some late tap as New Zealand ended their innings with a flourish.
Captain, Kane Williamson top-scored for his side with 59 (53 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes), with the late impetus coming through Colin de Grandhomme (34) and Tim Southee (24), as 51 came in the final 3.5 overs.
Kagiso Rabada picked up 2/31, before South Africa then went on to take a 1-0 series lead. Match two will be played in Christchurch on Wednesday.