Mount Maunganui: South Africa captain AB de Villiers anchored his side to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand, whose bowling and fielding was far superior to a poor batting performance in the first game of their three match one-day series on Tuesday.
De Villiers (89 not out) combined with JP Duminy (58 not out) in an efficient 139-run partnership after a tight and varied New Zealand bowling attack had given the hosts the sniff of an unlikely victory when they reduced them to 97 for four in the 25th over at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
The 30-year-old De Villiers, however, completed his 39th ODI half-century, while Duminy compiled his 20th and hit a six to win the game as the visitors finished on 236 for four, having chased New Zealand’s 230.
The series is being used by both sides to finalise their selections for next year's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Meanwhile, Match Referee Roshan Mahanama, who was in charge of Tuesday's match, became the latest member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees to reach the 200-mark in ODIs.