20 Feb 2017

Cricket: Proteas strong start lays platform for win

2:03 pm on 20 February 2017

South Africa's impressive opening wicket stand in difficult batting conditions proved the difference in last night's opening one-dayer in Hamilton, New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson says.

Captain AB de Villiers (right) and Faf du Plessis.

Captain AB de Villiers (right) and Faf du Plessis. Photo: Photosport

The Proteas won the thrilling rain-affected match by four wickets, reaching the victory target of 208 with just one ball to spare.

New Zealand made 207-7, after heavy rain forced a delay of more than three hours and reduced the match to 34-overs-a-side.

Williamson said South Africa's strong start with the bat laid the platform for their win.

"They put on close to 100 I think and when you do that, certainly chasing 200 on a tough surface as well, was a very good platform for them to build from."

South Africa captain AB de Villiers guided his side to the tense victory, scoring 37 not out.

The visitors were cruising to victory at 117-1 with 14 overs remaining but lost four wickets in 14 balls to slump to 126-5, to give New Zealand hope.

South Africa needed 22 runs from the final two overs and scored 10 from Trent Boult in the penultimate one before de Villiers belted Tim Southee for four off the penultimate ball to clinch the victory.

Kane Williamson bowling.

Kane Williamson bowling. Photo: Photosport

Williamson said the Proteas produced a better performance.

"Pretty disappointing, I think it's one of those games where because it was such a fine line, you look at a number of little things and kind of go 'should of, could of'.

"With the bat it was far from perfect, but we did manage to get to a total which I thought could have been very difficult to chase down and it proved to do so.

"It took someone of the calibre of AB de Villiers to sculpt the way to the end and he played very well and they thoroughly deserved the win."

Soggy Seddon Park pitch tricky

The South African skipper described conditions at Seddon Park as some of the toughest he's ever played in and said he had never seen a New Zealand pitch turn as much as it did last night.

Williamson said the pitch was one of the most difficult he has had to bat on.

"Very tough being under covers for such a long period of time ...it was a lot drier than when we first got here but it was still a very very tough surface.

"Obviously the spinners were not that easy to face on it and we were able to make life difficult for South Africa but they did play very well to get across the line."

South Africa lead the five match series 1-nil with game two in Christchurch on Wednesday.

- RNZ / Reuters