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South African Captain AB de Villiers displayed one of his finest knocks against New Zealand in the first ODI at Wellington.
De Villiers led by example and proved to fans and critics why he was worthy of being South Africa’s Captain.
Captain de Villiers, was most impressed with his batting display, as he thought the pitch did not have much in it for the batsmen. “I thought I constructed my innings well which was difficult on this pitch and in these conditions” he said.
New Zealand, who won the toss and decided to bat first, started in mediocre fashion, as they lost opener Martin Guptill early, but thanks to solid performances by Captain Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson, New Zealand were able to steady the inning.
McCullum made 56, while Williamson backed him up with 55 runs of his own.
South Africa’s Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson and Jacques Kallis all picked up two wickets in an brilliant effort to restrict New Zealand to 253.
New Zealand, knowing they had to bowl extremely well to defend their total, had South Africa stunned at 35 runs for the loss of three key wickets, including both openers.
However, Captain de Villiers and Jean Paul Duminy, rose to the challenge and put together a highly effective partnership, before Duminy was tragically dismissed on 46.
De Villiers didn’t let the wicket of Duminy distract him, as he and Francois du Plessis, carved up the New Zealand bowling attack as they saw South Africa home by six wickets, with an unbeaten 129 run partnership. De Villiers made 106 runs from 106 deliveries, while du Plessis hammered 66 runs off 49 balls.
Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Doug Bracewell and Rob Nicol each took a wicket in New Zealand’s desperate attempt to stop South Africa from winning the match.
De Villiers was named Man of the Match for his gem of an inning and pleased to start the ODI series with a win as Captain. “We did really well in the field to restrict them. They had a couple of partnerships, but we kept getting wickets, and that is where we won the game” he said.
New Zealand Captain, Brendon McCullum, was disappointed for letting the game slip from his grasp, and said: “We thought 250 was competitive, but we would have had to bowl exceptionally well. In hindsight, we needed someone to get a big hundred, like AB did for them…you cannot allow world-class players to get into the game, and we allowed AB to do that.”
New Zealand will be looking to even up the ODI series, while South Africa look to take a 2-0 lead, when the two sides clash again on the 29th of February at Napier.