The South African openers were a complete contrast. Quintin de Kock was all aggression, combing power in his pull shots, and an outrageous scooped six off Ferguson, with all sorts of cuteness as he glided boundaries through whichever gap there were in what would otherwise have been a slip cordon. Amla, on the other hand, was a shadow of what we’d expect. It seemed like a mercy when he departed for 7 off 19.
De Kock is an interesting one. He has the full range of tricks, is consistent and never seems to be in trouble. But once he gets to 50 he seems to have a brain fade. Scores of 69, 57 and 68 in this series (SR 97) is clearly very valuable but he’s had a knack of getting out at a very good time for New Zealand.
Colin de Grandhomme put in probably his best contribution with the ball in ODI cricket. 10 overs on the trot, and genuinely troubled all of the South African batsmen throughout and was never dominated. The double wicket over was what de Villiers would probably call a Moving Over.
After that spell South Africa always seemed to be one more wicket down than where they would like to be.
De Villiers walked out to the kind of warm welcome you often get for a home town favourite. He left to a standing ovation.
His innings was, once again, an example of how to bat in the second half of an innings. While the middle to lower order were struggling he remained shackled. But from the 43rd over on, we saw the de Villiers we know so well. It was a perfectly timed acceleration.
It was an innings that moved both ways. That middle spell where South Africa scored 66/5 at 4RPO was bookended by dominant batting
They ended with a score of 271 which seemed to be about, um, Par.
17 balls into the reply and both openers were dismissed. Latham has not looked comfortable with the bat since he picked up the gloves, and Brownlie really needed to get runs off Rabada & co today.
Since 2012/13 NZ opening batsmen/wicketkeepers in ODIs – 58 runs in 14 innings. Watling, Ronchi, Latham.
— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) February 25, 2017
At this stage the only certain opener for Hamilton is Martin Guptill. The selection for Hamilton will be very interesting.
For a brief time it looked as if Williamson and Taylor, with their collective ODI record of over 10,000 runs and 25 centuries might move the game to a more even platform. But, despite seeing out Bavada, it actually appeared as if batting got tougher as they went along.
Once they departed there was no real chance of any more moving; just the opportunity for players to enhance their reputation or otherwise. And so the home team could outscore the Hurricanes from earlier in the evening.
So de Villiers sure got his Moving Day, and they were a fair way ahead of their hosts today. For New Zealand to win the series from here it would take a Nick Faldo / Greg Norman type event.