The South African bowler Johan Botha says his side never lost the belief that they could defend their Twenty20 cricket score against the Black Caps in Auckland on Wednesday night.
In the end New Zealand came up three runs short after restricting the Proteas to a modest 165 for seven.
After initially cruising along in their run chase, the Black Caps lost a couple of wickets while the South African bowlers stunted their run rate.
Botha, who was also named man of the match, believes getting the wicket of the recalled Jesse Ryder to have New Zealand needing eight runs off seven balls was crucial.
A three-match one day international series starts in Wellington on Saturday.