| James Franklin |
Paarl: A superb rear-guard knock of unbeaten 47 from James Franklin helped New Zealand pull off an improbable one-wicket victory against South Africa in the first one-day international on Saturday.
New Zealand, who elected to field first, bowled out South Africa for 208 on a slow pitch after debutant Mitchell McClenaghan and off-spinner Kane Williamson stifled the hosts by taking four wickets apiece. Faf du Plessis (57) was the only South African to reach the half-century mark.
South African-born BJ Watling (45) kept New Zealand above the required rate but the visitors lost their way and stumbled to 140 for eight in the 33rd over. However, Franklin and lower-order batsman Kyle Mills (26), produced some dogged batting to guide New Zealand to an unlikely one-wicket victory. The result handed New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The Proteas came into the game on top of the ICC ODI rankings but after the defeat (and India’s seven wicket victory), they are now placed at No. 3.
Hashim Amla (13), Graeme Smith (7) and AB De Villiers (7) were all trapped in front of their stumps to reduce the home side to 37 for three in the 12th over.
Colin Ingram (29) and debutant Quinton de Kock (18) offered Du Plessis some support, but both were well caught by Nathan McCullum to end useful partnerships and leave the home side 119 for five in the 30th over.
Du Plessis remained steadfast, and, with the help of a quick-fire 33 from 39 balls by all-rounder Ryan McLaren, was able to give the innings some much-needed momentum.
The right-handed Du Plessis brought up his fifth ODI fifty with a boundary to fine leg off Kyle Mills in the 39th over, and by that stage South Africa were 171 for five.
McLaren fell soon after, beginning a procession of wickets, including that of Du Plessis.