Tahir weaves spell as South Africa beat New Zealand

Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:58am GMT

AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Legspinner Imran Tahir underlined why he is the world's top-ranked bowler in limited overs cricket as he bamboozled New Zealand's batsmen to help South Africa to a 78-run victory in their only Twenty20 match at Eden Park on Friday.

Tahir, who was on a hat-trick in his second over, had his figures ruined by successive sixes from Colin de Grandhomme but still finished with 5-24 in 3.5 overs, with the New Zealanders unable to pick his googly.

The 37-year-old did reap the benefits of a superb bowling performance by the rest of the team with Chris Morris, who was also denied a hat-trick, having figures of 2-10 in his opening three-over spell.

Andile Phehlukwayo took three wickets, including the important wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, as the hosts crumbled to 107 in 14.5 overs while chasing South Africa's 185-6.

The loss was New Zealand's first at home this summer.

Both sides had said beforehand they felt just having one Twenty20 clash before the five-match one-day series did not have much meaning and more games should have been scheduled.

The South African top order, however, underlined how dangerous they would be in the one-day series with nearly all making telling contributions.

While Quinton de Kock fell for a duck in the third over, Hashim Amla (62), captain Faf du Plessis (36), AB de Villiers (26) and JP Duminy (29) all scored quickly.

Amla's innings was particularly impressive as he played just pure cricket shots to hit nine boundaries and a six in his 43-ball innings.   Continued...

South Africa's Imran Tahir celebrates the dismissal of Australia's Steve Smith. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
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