Sport / Cricket

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
4 Mar 2017
9:38 am

Relentless Kagiso Rabada destroys as Proteas snap up ODI series

Heinz Schenk

South Africa's brilliant quick takes the lead at the best time possible as his team beat New Zealand to show their ability under pressure.

The Proteas. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images.

The Proteas on Saturday confirmed their ability to win “finals” of One-day series when they beat New Zealand by six wickets in Auckland.

As a result, they won the five-match battle 3-2.

But now the question is: can they do so in mid-year’s ICC Champions Trophy in England?

Also read: De Kock and Rabada are now big cheeses of SA cricket 

Regardless, South Africa were brilliant in this decider with a brutal seam attack showing its teeth again and some superb fielding also adding value.

However, it would be difficult to look past Kagiso Rabada’s contribution as being the key one for the Proteas.

The 21-year-old quick reminded everyone again that this side simply won’t be the same without him.

Rabada was absolutely top-class in taking 3/25, with his first spell ranking as one of his best ever.

He was relentless against New Zealand opener Martin Guptill, who scored an unbeaten 180 earlier this week, and worked him over beautifully.

Rabada bowled a vicious bouncer to the home side’s big-hitting maestro before cleaning up his stumps the next delivery with a yorker.

Thereafter, South Africa were relentless as they dismissed the Black Caps for a mere 149.

Imran Tahir bowled the most economical spell by a South African spinner in ODIs as his wizardry delivered figures of 2/14 in 10 overs, while Andile Phehlukwayo continued to make an impression with 2/35.

But it was the Proteas’ ruthless fielding that added 15% to the bowling effort.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was run out after AB de Villiers quickly released his throw following a splendid stop at mid-wicket.

That effort would be trumped though by JP Duminy, who caught Mitchell Santner (24) short of his crease with a direct hit.

On a spicy pitch, the Proteas also initially found the going tough.

Hashim Amla (8) and JP Duminy (3) continued their indifferent form before a change of approach proved vital.

Realising Faf du Plessis was an immovable rock, De Villiers attacked the bowling in a cameo of 23 off 21 before David Miller went into overdrive.

The left-hander smashed six fours and two sixes in a pleasing, unbeaten 45 off 35 to illustrate that New Zealand perhaps made a mistake in being so defensive.

In contrast, Du Plessis – who survived a LBW by reviewing the decision – controlled the chase calmly as his match-winning boundary helped him reach a 90-ball fifty.

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