AB DE VILLIERS and JP Duminy shared a record fifth wicket partnership against New Zealand to lead the Castle Lager Proteas to a comfortable six-wicket victory with 11 balls to spare in the first of three ODIs at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.
The pair came together with the match slightly in the balance at the midway stage of the South African innings with the total on 97/4 in pursuit of a target of 231 and they finished the match superbly by largely playing orthodox low-risk cricket. De Villiers, who played pretty conservative cricket in comparison with his normal way of doing things, still managed a strike rate of more than 100 percent with his unbeaten 89 off 85 balls with 9 fours while Duminy was equally impressive (58 not out off 72 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes).
Their unbeaten partnership of 139 was one better than the previous fifth-wicket record against New Zealand of 138 by Jonty Rhodes and Mark Boucher at Perth in the 2001/02 season.
The pitch was typically on the slow side with a tennis ball bounce which did not make strokeplay easy which made the De Villiers-Duminy partnership (139 in 23.2 overs at 5.95) all the more impressive.
It was a convincing all-round performance for the Proteas as they quickly switched back into gear after their brief international break and controlled the game throughout apart from a brief spell of 10 overs at the start of the New Zealand power play that enabled the hosts to recover from 156/9 to 230 all out. This was due to a partnership of 74 between Luke Ronchi (99 off 83 balls, 11 fours and 3 sixes) and Trent Boult.
Vernon Philander made the early breakthroughs, having the Black Caps two down for 35 inside 10 overs and then Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel took three wickets between them in 8 balls to reduce New Zealand to 68/5. From there it was going to be very difficult to get back into the match and they did well to set their final target.
Quinton de Kock provided the 14th instance of a wicketkeeper making 6 dismissals in an ODI innings (5 catches and a stumping) to join the likes of Mark Boucher and Adam Gilchrist, who did it on no fewer than 6 occasions. It also brought up De Kock’s 50thdismissal in ODI cricket and he is averaging a remarkable two dismissals per innings.
Philander returned to the Proteas line-up after missing the triangular series in Zimbabwe through a hamstring injury while a throat infection kept David Miller out of action. This provided a further opportunity for Rilee Rossouw.