AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) South Africa seamers Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo combined to wreck New Zealand’s top order and hasten its dismissal for 149 as it batted first Saturday in the fifth and deciding one-day cricket international.
Rabada made exceptional use of short deliveries which softened batsmen for his yorker and took 3-25, dismissing danger man Martin Guptill (4) and allrounder James Neesham (24), who tried to lead a middle-order rally. He ended the innings when he dismissed Colin de Grandhomme (32) in the 42nd over.
Phehlukwayo, returning to the Proteas lineup after missing the fourth match with a groin strain, removed Dean Brownlie (24) and Ross Taylor (8) as South Africa, which bowled on winning the toss, had New Zealand 87-6. He finished with 2-35.
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The South African bowlers operated superbly as a unit and were well-supported by their fielders on what had seemed the best batting wicket of the five-match series which is tied at 2-2.
The accuracy of the bowlers and athleticism of the field made runs hard to come by and that sowed frustration among the New Zealand batsmen which led to rash shots and the run outs captain Kane Williamson (9) and Mitchell Santner (24).
New Zealand wasn’t able to achieve any momentum in its innngs until Santner and de Grandhomme combined to add 45 for its seventh wicket – the best partnership of the innings.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was also a critical contributor to the South African bowling effort, completing his 10 overs at a cost of only 14 runs and with the wickets of Tim Southee (6) and Jeetan Patel (0). Tahir and Rabada both spilled caught and bowled chances which might have ended the innings even earlier.
The squeeze applied by the South African bowlers was most evident between the 25th and 30th overs of the innings when New Zealand added only nine runs.