Durban - The Proteas beat New Zealand by 62 runs in the third ODI at Kingsmead to win the series 2-1 and leapfrog their opponents into third place on the ICC rankings.
The Proteas won the toss and opted to bat first and posted a very competitive 283/7 to which New Zealand were only able to reply with 221 all out in 49.2 overs.
The match also marked a notable landmark for SA skipper AB de Villiers, who became the fastest player to score 8 000 ODI runs. He was also named man-of-the-match for his innings of 64 off 48 balls with 6 fours and a six on a pitch which most batsmen struggled to score runs quickly.
Hashim Amla was named man-of-the-series, having scored a century in the first match and then played an important part in setting up the Proteas total on Wednesday through his opening partnership of 89 with Morne van Wyk.
New Zealand suffered an early setback in their chase when Dale Steyn dismissed Martin Guptill who had been outstanding throughout the series. Kane Williamson and Tom Latham then stabilised the innings with their second wicket partnership of 84 but both were dismissed in the space of 12 runs and New Zealand were never able to get their innings back on track again.
Latham’s 54 off 74 balls (4 fours and a six) was the main contribution.
Imran Tahir, who broke the threatening second wicket partnership by clean-bowling Williamson, was the pick of the South African attack.
The South African innings could be divided into three phases. The first was the opening stand of 89 in 20.1 overs and the second was the follow up stand of 86 in only 10 overs between De Villiers and David Miller after there had been a slight lull when Amla, Rilee Rossouw and Morne van Wyk were dismissed in relatively quick succession.
Van Wyk made his first half-century of the series (58 off 100 balls with four fours and two sixes), taking advantage of a life he was given on 17.
The third was highlighted by the performance of Farhaan Behardien, who took charge of the acceleration in the final 10 overs during which the Proteas scored 66/4. Behardien scored 40 (28 balls, 6 fours and a six) of the 63 runs contributed by the lower-order while he was at the crease before being dismissed off the last ball of the innings, attempting to clear the ropes.
He has been one of the big successes from a South African point of view in this series, following his innings of 70 in the previous match at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.
Adam Milne was again the standout member of the New Zealand attack, impressing with his pace, control and accuracy and he was well supported by fellow seamers, Doug Bracewell and Elliott.