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South Africa v New Zealand Twenty20 Series 2012
South Africa won by eight wickets New Zealand were completely blown away by South Africa tonight. The 17,000 who filled Kingsmead will have been hoping for a better contest, but a young New Zealand outfit missing several key batsmen was woefully under par. The batsmen who did play seemed unable to adapt to the conditions, perishing to cross-batted strokes on a pitch that displayed variable bounce. The South African batsmen - Levi aside - had no such problems, and cantered to victory with just under eight overs to spare. One can only hope for a better match in the second T20I at East London on Sunday. Do join us then. Goodbye!
Over 12.1 - SA 87/2 (du Plessis 38, de Kock 28) And there's the game. Jimmy Neesham, on debut, comes on and du Plessis immediately delivers the last rites with a square drive and a hard-run two.
Over 12 - SA 85/2 (du Plessis 36, de Kock 28) That's better from de Kock. He helps himself to four runs with a shoveled cover drive off Nicol, and then adds another boundary with a deliberate uppercut that beats short third man. At the end of an over that brings 11 runs, South Africa need just two runs to win.
Over 11 - SA 74/2 (du Plessis 34, de Kock 19) Faf du Plessis takes South Africa closer to their target with a champagne cover drive that bisects the off-side field and runs away for four as Hira continues. De Kock - who hasn't really looked convincing in this knock - helps him to take 9 runs from the over.
Over 10 - SA 65/2 (du Plessis 28, de Kock 16) New Zealand's spinners are stringing a couple of good overs together here, but it's all pretty meaningless with South Africa under no scoreboard pressure. It's McCullum again, bowling in miserly fashion to keep the batsmen to just three singles from the over.
Over 9 - SA 62/2 (du Plessis 26, de Kock 15) Hira offers less in the way of pace variation, but his lines are good as he spears delivery after delivery at the leg stump. Du Plessis glances a single, but a swinging de Kock can't get the ball off the square.
Over 8 - SA 61/2 (du Plessis 25, de Kock 15) There's definitely some purchase off the track for the offspinning McCullum, and it's a shame he doesn't have more runs to work with. He varies his pace to great effect to keep de Kock pinned to the crease for five deliveries, but his sixth is too short and too wide, and is duly slammed through the off side field.
Over 7 - SA 57/2 (du Plessis 25, de Kock 11) Corey Anderson comes on to bowl for the first time. He's got an ambling approach and a quick arm action, but bowls pretty basic medium pace seamers. An untroubled de Kock biffs the second ball over mid-off and then spanks the fifth one through cover to take his strike rate up above 180. This game won't last much longer.
Over 6 - SA 46/2 (du Plessis 24, de Kock 1) WICKET! A slogging Davids is bowled by a quick Hira offspinner, but there's more shambolic fielding from New Zealand after his dismissal as Munro tumbles over the ball clumsily at extra cover. The misfield allows Quinton de Kock to get off the mark for the first time in international cricket.
Over 5 - SA 41/1 (du Plessis 24, Davids 16) Oh dear. It's all coming apart for New Zealand. There's a roar of laughter from the crowd as a misfielding Hira palms the first ball of McClenaghan's third over beyond the boundary rope. Anderson, at mid-on, then walks over the ball at mid-on to gift wrap four more runs. A deflated McClenaghan is then thumped to deep midwicket for the third boundary of the over and finally slapped over wide long off for the fourth. An expensive over for New Zealand, and South Africa are cruising towards an easy win.
Over 4 - SA 25/1 (Davids 16, du Plessis 8) The approach by South Africa's batsmen has not been all that different from New Zealand's, but they're getting away with it. Davids begins Bracewell's second over by charging out and aiming for the stands beyond extra cover. The shot is instead sliced to third man, but it still goes for six, and du Plessis rubs it in by scooping a length delivery down the ground for four.
Over 3 - SA 13/1 (Davids 9, du Plessis 3) Another impressive over from McClenaghan. He stirs du Plessis' blood with a painful, stinging blow to the elbow and then finds the inside edge of Davids' bat - but can't force the dismissal. A troubled du Plessis gets underneath an attempted lofted stroke down the ground, the ball arcing up into the night sky, but Anderson can't get back to the chance from mid-on in time, and the ball falls safely. New Zealand are desperate for another breakthrough.
Over 2 - SA 9/1 (Davids 8, du Plessis 0) There wasn't much swing at all for South Africa's seamers, but Bracewell finds enough wobble in his first over to trouble Henry Davids. Bracewell's first delivery was a filthy wide which barely landed on the cut strip, but he recovered quickly and there was even a speculate lbw appeal as Davids was hit on the pad. Davids was obviously eager to get off the mark, but in his over-enthusiasm his first international runs come from a wild French cut down to fine leg. His second scoring stroke is rather more authoritative: a scything drive over mid-off.
Over 1 - SA 0/1 (Davids 0, du Plessis 0) WICKET! There's more than a touch of Blue Steel in Mitchell McClenaghan's visage, and his bowling is equally as eye-catching. I'd never seen him bowl before. He's got a strong, chesty action - complete with a grunt at the point of release - and generally seems to just angle the ball across the right-hander. That, it appears, is enough for Richard Levi, who pokes tentatively at his fifth delivery and is easily caught by Fulton at first slip. McClenaghan's international career begins with a wicket maiden. Not bad. That is just the start New Zealand wanted - but will they be able to maintain the pressure?
End of Innings The scorecard suggests that New Zealand's batsmen have been eviscerated by South Africa's bowlers, but this has been a case of harakiri. New Zealand expected South Africa to bowl short to them, formulated a gameplan to deal with the tactic, and then stuck to it even as the conditions rendered their plan useless. With the variable bounce in the track, more often than not South Africa's seamers simply aimed to hit a good length. Every bowler prospered as false strokes found fielders, with Kleinveldt picking up an impressive 3 for 18. It's hard to imagine him bowling an easier spell for the rest of his international career. Join us in a few minutes as New Zealand attempt to defend this meager total.
Over 19 - NZ 86 all out WICKET! And that is that. No. 11 McClenaghan heaves at his third delivery in international cricket to present mid-on with a simple catch. How many times has that happened today? Umpteen Blackcap batsmen have fluffed attempted pull shots at length deliveries, and they've been bowled out for 86 with a full 10 deliveries remaining.
Over 18 - NZ 86/9 (Bracewell 21, McClenaghan 0) WICKET! Another atrocious shot, and another dismissal. This time it's Hira, who clears his front leg and heaved with precious little control at a Steyn length delivery and hits a straightforward catch straight to Kleinveldt at mid-off. The horror show is almost over for New Zealand when Bracewell is flummoxed by a slower ball, but the skied stroke falls short of Davids - running in from long on - and Bracewell survives. He's reached a career-best 21 not out, and New Zealand are - mercifully - no longer in danger of being bowled out for a record low score.
Over 17 - NZ 81/8 (Bracewell 17, Hira 5) There's turn and bounce in Peterson's final over, and a moment of alarm for Bracewell as the ball scoots past his defenses and pings him on the front pad. The umpire calls not out, but Peterson still has cause to celebrate as he finishes his spell with the most economical figures for a South African bowler in T20Is: 4-0-8-2
Over 16 - NZ 79/8 (Bracewell 16, Hira 4) With all these new faces about, it's hardly surprising that there's the odd moment of confusion in the field. Bracewell finds his first boundary by chopping a length ball down to third man - where no fielder is positioned! Du Plessis waves his arms wildly about for a few moments, there are a few smiles, and a fielder is sent down there. Bracewell aims for another gap with a lofted off drive that skips over a leaping Dale Steyn at mid-off, and makes it three boundaries in three balls with an edge down to third man that the fielder - who is in place - can't quite get to.
Over 15 - NZ 66/8 (Hira 4, Bracewell 3) Hira rockets to a career-best 4 not out with a chopped cut for two down to third man, prompting McLaren to come round the stumps and cramp him for room. The tactic works, and the rest of the over is played out defensively. This isn't the most gripping cricket, with South Africa utterly dominant. Having said that, if New Zealand can get to 100 they will at least have a chance of making this competitive.
Over 14 - NZ 64/8 (Bracewell 3, Hira 2) Ah, now this could be worrying for South Africa. Everything had been going so well for their bowling attack, but after four deliveries of his fourth over Morris has pulled up clutching his hamstring. He's escorted from the field by the team physio, and du Plessis takes it upon himself to end the over. Just two runs are given away in the over, and Justin Ontong replaces Morris on the field.
Over 13 - NZ 62/8 (Bracewell 2, Hira 1). Robin Peterson motors through an almost shotless over, with New Zealand now surely looking only to survive the full twenty. It's up to Bracewell and Hira - who has a high score of 1 in 10 T20 matches - to see them through.
Over 12 - NZ 60/8 (Bracewell 1, Hira 0) WICKET! Munro won't be becalmed, and it's only a matter of time before the eighth wicket falls. He took New Zealand to 60 with a superb lofted strike over extra cover, but was then undone by the unpredictable bounce in this track - as were almost all the batsmen before him. He set himself to heave a slow offcutter to leg, but the ball bounced more than he expected and Morris settled under a simple caught and bowled chance.
Over 11 - NZ 54/7 (Munro 18, Bracewell 0) WICKET! Oh dear, that didn't last very long. After nudging a couple around, Neesham made room to cut one from Peterson that kept very low indeed, cannoning into the stumps off the inside edge. Peterson has his second, and the visitors are in very real danger of being bowled out in under 20 overs now.
Over 10 - NZ 51/6 (Munro 15, Neesham 10) Munro and Neesham, it appears, are going to go down swinging. Neesham begins McLaren's third over with an extravagant one-legged pull to wide long-on off a delivery which wasn't all that short, before hooking a legitimate bouncer off his grille and out to deep square. Not to be outdone, Munro seizes on a slower ball that slipped out a little too short to muscle a third pull to deep midwicket. They've taken 14 runs off the over, but South Africa are still bossing this contest.
Over 9 - NZ 37/6 (Munro 10, Neesham 1) WICKET! With New Zealand neutered by the top-order collapse, Faf du Plessis is quite happy to bring Robin Peterson on for a twirl. A fidgety Nathan McCullum pokes and prods at four deliveries before attempting to smoke the fifth out of the ground. He hits nothing but fresh air, alas, and as the ball rattles his timber another Blackcap batsman makes the walk of shame back to their dugout. Peterson has a slip and a silly mid-off in place for Jimmy Neesham - who is yet another player making his debut - but he nudges to leg to get off the mark. New Zealand need a little more of that.
Over 8 - NZ 36/5 (Munro 10, McCullum 1) WICKET! The collapse continues apace. New Zealand's batsmen have been all over the place in these conditions. Their shot-selection has been way off, and yet again they've paid the price. This time, Anderson tried to bludgeon a rising length delivery down the ground, but could only get as far as Levi at mid-off. Morris is pretty happy about it all, having just picked up his first international wicket, but there are some very glum faces in the Blackcap dugout.
Over 7 - NZ 33/4 (Munro 9, Anderson 5) WICKET! There goes another one. Incredibly, McLaren has removed Franklin with a quick bouncer that simply beat the batsman for pace. Franklin was late into the pull, and as the ball ballooned to de Kock the umpire's finger was raised. Franklin was livid with the decision, spitting nails as he left the crease, and the ball definitely clipped his shoulder on the way through. But did it touch his glove? Corey Anderson - yet another New Zealand debutant - is unsettled by a lifter outside off first up, but does his best Munro impression by aiming an almighty swipe at the final delivery of the over to collect four.
Over 6 - NZ 27/3 (Munro 8, Franklin 0) Munro looks like a bruiser, and he swings the bat like a lumberjack as Chris Morris - another international newbie - comes into the attack. There's nothing delicate about his batting. He's just trying to leather absolutely everything, and does enough to swat two leg-side boundaries. This hit-or-miss method surely won't last too long?
Over 5 - NZ 19/3 (Franklin 0, Munro 0) WICKET! New Zealand are floundering now! The South Africans are reading the conditions really well. Kleinveldt followed Steyn's lead with the cross-seamed deliveries, and after stifling McCullum's shot-making with a wicket-to-wicket line he surprised the batsman with one that spat off a length, took the top-edge of a swiveling pull and landed safely in Steyn's hands at fine leg. His dismissal brings debutant Colin Munro to the crease.
Over 4 - NZ 19/2 (McCullum 6, Franklin 0) WICKET! Steyn continues, and nips out the second Kiwi scalp! Fulton dealt the first blow as Steyn attempted to hurry him with a short delivery that was enthusiastically pulled out to the deep square boundary. A resounding crack off the bat. Steyn is a canny bowler, and sent down a succession of cross-seamed deliveries to end the over. They scuttled through low on this track, and Fulton scooped an easy catch straight to mid-on as he tried to go over the top. He was undone by the lack of bounce.
Over 3 - NZ 14/1 (Fulton 5, McCullum 5) WICKET! Kleinveldt strikes with his very first delivery! Nicol walked out at him and was aiming to heave down the ground, but he was beaten by the galloping Kleinveldt's extra bounce off the track. A thin edged was easily pouched by debutant de Kock behind the stumps. The incoming Brendon McCullum is greeted with a pugnacious bouncer, but he's unfazed and gets off the mark with a spanking cut behind point.
Over 2 - NZ 9/0 (Nicol 3, Fulton 5) Dale Steyn shares the new ball and his radar is a little off to start with. He begins with a leg-side wide and gifts Fulton a single with a leg-stump half-volley that is clipped away neatly. When he gets it right, however, he's a handful, and a charging Nicol slices to third man before Fulton spoons a drive just short of point. Steyn is bowling with a heavily strapped left hand, and is carrying a minor niggle.
Over 1 - NZ 5/0 (Nicol 1, Fulton 4) Well, after just a single over it's pretty obvious that this track is going to play unpredictably. McLaren bustles in busily and has Nicol poking defensively at a couple of deliveries that keep low before bursting one past Fulton's outside edge. To show that the bowlers won't have it all their own way, Fulton aims a languorous drive through the covers to end the over. His feet went nowhere, but his hands were in the perfect position as he leaned his lofty frame forward to drive.
Pitch and conditions It's a sun-drenched afternoon in Durban, but there's been a lot of rain around recently so neither the pitch nor the outfield are likely to be the quickest. The conditions back up McCullum's decision to bat first, as chasing could be tricky as the pitch wears later in the evening.
South Africa XI Richard Levi, Henry Davids, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Behardien, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Robin Peterson, Chris Morris, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn.
New Zealand XI Rob Nicol, Peter Fulton, Brendon McCullum, James Franklin, Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Nathan McCullum, Jimmy Neesham, Doug Bracewell, Ronnie Hira, Mitchell McClenaghan.
Team News The Proteas have handed debuts to fast bowler Chris Morris, wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and opener Henry Davids and recalled middle-order batsman David Miller. The Black Caps, meanwhile, have opted for four debutants in all-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson, batsman Derek de Boorder and seamer Mitchell McClenaghan.
Toss Visiting skipper Brendon McCullum is triumphant at the flip of the coin - and New Zealand will bat first.
Early News Left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, as was the case with fast bowler Wayne Parnell earlier this week, has been ruled out of the series due to injury. This certainly increases the chance of a debut for right-arm seamer Chris Morris today.
Greetings Hello and welcome to our over-by-over commentary of the first Twenty20 International in the three-match series between South Africa and New Zealand at Kingsmead in Durban.
Read the views of former England captain Nasser Hussain with skysports.com.