New Zealand vs South Africa 2nd ODI: Amla hands South Africa unassailable 2-0 lead

Amla celebrates after scoring his 16th ODI century

Amla celebrates after scoring his 16th ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa opening batsman Hashim Amla scored a sensational century to not only lead his side to a 72-run win over New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, but also give them an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Amla was well supported by batsman Faf du Plessis, who made a brilliant 67.

However, New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi deserves a lot of credit for his gutsy knock of 79.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum would have been brooding over his decision to bowl first after Amla and Quinton de Kock amassed a 56-run partnership before de Kock was clean bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan for 26 runs.

Amla and du Plessis kept the runs flowing with a 113-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before du Plessis was caught behind off the bowling of James Neesham.

Du Plessis’ excellent knock of 67 came off 73 balls and included three boundaries and two sixes.

Du Plessis struck three boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 67

Du Plessis struck three boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 67

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Amla and AB de Villiers kept South Africa in the driver’s seat with a 66-run partnership before de Villiers was caught behind off the bowling of Tim Southee for a quickfire 37.

Amla went on to bring up his 16th ODI century before he was cleaned up by Southee.

Amla’s superb innings of 119 came off 135 deliveries and included 15 boundaries.

Following Amla’s dismissal, South Africa’s middle and lower order absolutely collapsed as they went from 257/4 to finishing on 282/9 off their 50 overs.

Southee, McClenaghan, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson picked up two wickets apiece, while Neesham chipped in with one.

Chasing 283 to win, New Zealand got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Martin Guptill was caught by Rilee Rossouw at cover off the bowling of Vernon Philander for 11 runs.

Neesham only made 10 runs before he was clean bowled by Morne Morkel.

Tom Latham failed to have an impact with the bat as well as he was caught by Amla at short fine leg for 16 runs to give de Villiers his maiden ODI wicket.

Dean Brownlie managed to make 20 runs before he had his stumps shattered by Dale Steyn.

Anderson mustered one run before he was brilliantly caught by David Miller at short midwicket off the bowling of Steyn.

McCullum failed to save his team as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Imran Tahir for 12 runs.

McCullum decided to review the decision, but replays showed that there was no edge off the bat and that the ball was going on to hit middle and leg stump. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Daniel Vettori fared no better as he was cleaned up by Jean Paul (JP) Duminy for one run.

Southee accumulated five runs before he was clean bowled by Tahir.

Boult made 10 runs before he was cleaned up by de Villiers.

With New Zealand on the brink of being defeated, there was a rather strange turn of events. Instead of accepting that their side had lost, Ronchi and McClenaghan decided to rise above the rubble and put together a last-gasp 76-run partnership, which is now the highest tenth-wicket stand for the Blackcaps in ODI history.

During that partnership, Ronchi surpassed his half-century and McClenaghan registered his highest ODI score.

However, Ronchi and McClenaghan’s valiant effort went in vain as New Zealand still lost the match by 72 runs when Ronchi was caught by du Plessis at point off the bowling of Philander.

Ronchi’s spirited knock of 79 came off 83 balls and included seven boundaries and a six.

Ronchi's made a gutsy 79

Ronchi made a gutsy 79

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

McClenaghan remained stranded on his career-best score of 34, which came off 43 deliveries and included four boundaries.

Steyn, Philander, de Villiers and Tahir snapped up two wickets apiece, while Morkel and Duminy claimed one wicket each.

McCullum was gutted to have lost the series, and said: “It wasn’t great, our batting let us down and our bowling was okay. We were good in the field. There were too many soft dismissals. [Even though we did show a] little backbone at the end, it far too little too late. We got to continue to get used to the conditions. We got a bit of hard work to do over the next two days. 280 at the half-way mark was okay, the bowlers kept coming back nicely in those last ten overs. It’s a beautiful ground and a fantastic place, great crowd as well.”

De Villiers was pleased to have taken a 2-0 lead, and said: “It was a bit frustrating at the end, we lost Immi so I had to make up the overs too. I’ve been bowling a little bit, discussing the options, if I can land it, it will be handy in certain games, I won’t bowl in all the games. When Hashim bats like that, it just [allows] the whole line-up to be aggressive…it was another great hundred. I thought Quinny started well as well, it’s always important to get a good opening stand. We have about eight games down under and we want to win most of them.”

Amla was named Man of the Match, and said: “It felt good, it was difficult early on. The little things went out of the way and we managed to hang in there quite a while. Today the wicket was doing a bit and the guys were bowling well so it did not allow us to go hard up front but we were able to push on in the middle.”

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