After collecting a lot of embarrassment in the first two games, South Africa finally managed to redeem some respect. Graeme Smith and Ryan McLaren did the trick, and guided the side to a close triumph over New Zealand in the third and final encounter.
Batting first, the Blacks Caps reached 260 runs in the allotted quota of 50 overs. The top-order flopped awfully, but the mid-order performed magnificently. Grant Elliott scored a classy half-century, before Colin Munro and James Franklin smashed brilliant
In reply, Smith single-handedly took the team to a close triumph. The left-handed opening batsman hit a marvellous innings of 116 runs. At the end of the match, McLaren played the hero, and added extremely crucial 25 runs to the total. As a result, the Proteas
achieved the target on the very last ball of the game.
Smith lost his wicket at a crucial juncture when 32 needed off 25 balls. The left-hander was caught at wide long-on off Kane Williamson. He said of his innings: "I would like to have seen it through. The shot was on but the execution wasn’t right."
Faf du Plessis, who was leading the side in the absence of AB de Villiers, stated that it was a very important win for his side. He called it a nerve-wracking contest, adding that there is plenty to work on.
"It was nerve-wracking," admitted South African captain Faf du Plessis. "It was very important for us as a team but there is a lot to work on."
Not disappointed over the loss in the third game, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum expressed delight over the series win, their first ever in South Africa. He described after the match:
"They have shown their fighting characteristics, especially after the Test series, which was a very tough few weeks for us."
The South African side is now set to meet Pakistan in three-match Test series, starting from February 1st. The Test series will be followed by a couple of T20s and five One Day Internationals (ODIs).