Imran Tahir was the destroyer as South Africa began their tour of New Zealand with an emphatic 78-run victory in a one-off Twenty20 International on Friday (February 17).
Tahir claimed five wickets as South Africa skittled New Zealand for 107 with five overs to spare, after batting first and scoring 185 for 6 in their 20 overs.
“It’s a very special feeling,” said Tahir, the legspinner, after his man-of-the-match performance at Eden Park – only the third five-wicket haul by a South African in a T20 international.
Andile Phehlukwayo, the paceman, also claimed three wickets and Hashim Amla scored 62 in a match that South Africa dominated from start to finish.
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper, conceded his team was outplayed and must improve with five One-Day Internationals and three Tests against the same opponents looming.
“It’s frustrating from our perspective, we didn’t really fire a shot,” he said. “It’s important we learn from this and move on.”
After losing the toss, South Africa made a flying start with the bat then backed it up with a strong bowling performance.
Amla made the most of Eden Park’s short boundaries to smash 62 off 43 balls, receiving support from Faf du Plessis (36) and JP Duminy (29).
They looked set to make 200-plus, but Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme put the brakes on with two wickets apiece.
Boult was the one standout for New Zealand, conceding only eight runs in his four overs. But with dangerman Martin Guptill injured and Ross Taylor controversially omitted from the T20 side, New Zealand’s woes with the bat were apparent.
Chris Morris made a perfect start with two wickets in his first two balls for South Africa, coaxing an edge off debutant Glen Mitchell, and then skittling Colin Munro with his next ball.
Phehlukwayo then took Williamson’s wicket with a short delivery and dismissed Corey Anderson in his next over.
Not to be outdone, Tahir dispatched Tom Bruce (33) and Luke Ronchi (0) off successive deliveries, before wrapping up the tail.