Durban - AB de Villiers hit a rapid 64 to lift South Africa to a competitive total of 283 for seven in the series-deciding third and final one-day international against New Zealand on Kingsmead on Wednesday.
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The South African captain was the only batsman who made batting look easy against a steady New Zealand bowling attack on a pitch which offered the New Zealand bowlers good bounce and some sideways movement.
De Villiers hurried to a half-century off 38 balls before being bowled by Doug Bracewell after a 48-ball innings which included eight fours and a six.
When De Villiers was on 19 he reached 8 000 runs in one-day internationals in his 182nd innings - the fastest to the milestone.
The previous record was held by Sourav Ganguly of India, who took 200 innings.
After a poor batting performance in the second match in Potchefstroom, where they were bowled out for 204, South Africa fulfilled their objective of making a solid start as Morne van Wyk (58) and Hashim Amla (44) put on 89 for the first wicket.
But the scoring rate was languishing until De Villiers and David Miller (36) put on 86 off 65 balls for the fourth wicket.
Left-arm opening bowler Ben Wheeler took three wickets but conceded 71 runs, while medium-pacer Grant Elliott bowled ten overs in an unbroken spell and took two for 41.