AB de Villiers ton hands SA 6 wicket win
Royal Challengers Bangalore wicketkeeper batsman and South Africa captain AB de Villiers lead SA to a 6 wicket win against New Zealand in the first ODI between the two sides, crafting their successful chase with a superb run-a-ball ton at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
New Zealand posted 253/9 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first helped by fifties from Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson while Rob Nicol and James Franklin played supporting roles with their knocks.
Steyn announced his return in a grand fashion, taking 2/37 in his 9 overs and extracting dangerous lateral movement in the air early in NZ’s innings. Kallis however proved expensive, taking 2 wickets but conceding 45 in just 7 overs.
Kallis’s contribution with the bat was negligible as well, his dismissal for 13 left SA reeling at 35/3 after 10 overs, this after SA lost Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith for very little very early in their chase.
AB de Villiers took hold of the situation from there, consolidating the innings with JP Duminy. The batsmen barely took risks, waiting for the bad balls to score boundaries but kept the scoreboard ticking to make up for their poor start. de Villiers even hit a six off Nicol against the run of play, the calculated aggression catching NZ by surprise. The skipper added 90 runs with Duminy for the fourth wicket before Rob Nicol broke the partnership.
Undaunted, de Villiers brought up his 50 and continued the chase with Francois du Plessis for support. du Plessis gave the run rate a shot in the arm, taking chances early, targeting Tim Southee while de Villiers hit another six off Rob Nicol to ease the pressure.
A brace of sixes by AB de Villiers off Nicol in the 40th over saw the required run rate drop below 6 after a really long stretch of play in which SA were reduced to playing catch up.
De Villiers brought up his ton in the 44th over and du Plessis followed it up by hitting a six to bring up his half century and followed it up with two fours. The unbeaten 129 run partnership for the 5th wicket came off just 91 balls, hitting the last 50 runs they needed in just 5.2 overs.
South Africa picked up what was ultimately a comfortable 6 wicket win, reaching 254/4 in 45.2 overs to go 1-0 up in the 3 ODI series. AB de Villiers picked up the Man of the Match award for his 102 ball 102* with three fours and four sixes.