Auckland: South Africa retained their number one spot in the International Cricket COuncil (ICC) One-day International (ODI) rankings after thrashing New Zealand by six wickets in the fifth and final 50-over game, to clinch the series 3-2, here on Saturday.
The Proteas remained on their pre-series tally of 119 points, one point ahead of Australia while the Kiwis too remained at 113 points in third position, with India on fourth at 112 points.
Had South Africa lost the match and the series, it would have been edged by Australia on decimal points with both teams on 118 points in such a scenario.
In the final ODI, the visitors made light work of the home batsmen by bowling them out for a paltry 149 before Test skipper Faf du Plessis’s patient unbeaten 51, helped them overhaul the target with more than 17 overs to spare.
Pacer Kasigo Rabada scalped three wickets while leg-spinner Imran Tahir and medium pacer Andile Phehlukwayo took two wickets each as New Zealand found the going tough after being sent in to bat at the Eden Park.
Colin de Grandhomme top-scored with 32 runs while opener Dean Brownlie, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner scored an identical 24 each to help the hosts to the meagre target.
In reply, the Proteas were off to a poor start before du Plessis and skipper AB de Villiers (23) forged a 40-run fourth wicket stand to take the side near the three-figure mark.
Once de Villiers was packed back after his 21-ball knock consisting of two fours and as many sixes, David Miller (45 not out) joined du Plessis to ensure that the Proteas reached the target without any more hiccups. Miller’s flamboyant knock included six boundaries and two sixes.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 149 (Colin de Grandhomme 32, Jimmy Neesham 24, Kasigo Rabada 3/25, Imran Tahir 2/14) lose to South Africa 150/4 (Faf du Plessis 51 not out, David Miller 45 not out, Jeetan Patel 2/26) by six wickets.
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