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Cricket | SA Team

Tahir five-for crushes Black Caps

The world's premier limited overs bowler, Imran Tahir, justified his No 1 ranking as he took 5-24 to hand South Africa a 78-run victory in their one and only T20 international against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

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Ranked the top bowler in both one-day international and T20 international cricket, Imran Tahir was too hot for the Kiwis to handle.

Despite some drizzle, the 37-year-old leg spinner displayed immaculate control as he deceived the Black Caps' batsmen with his variation.

"It's a very special feeling," Tahir said, of only the third five-wicket haul by a South African in a T20 international.

South Africa had earlier posted 185-6 with Hashim Amla (62), Faf du Plessis (36), JP Duminy (29) and AB de Villiers (26) all doing well with the bat, while Trent Boult (2-8) and Colin de Grandhomme (2-22) were superb with the ball.

Tahir's exploits of 5-24 in 3.5 overs earned him the man-of-the-match award, but much of the hard work was done up front by Chris Morris who produced a sensational spell.

Morris's second over, derailed the Black Caps' chase as he removed opener Glen Phillips and then Colin Munro in successive deliveries. Bowling in excess of 140 kilometres per hour, Morris banged the ball at the back of a length and found the steep bounce to be his ally on this surface.

His second over turned into a double-wicket maiden as he bowled three overs up front, conceding just 10 runs and taking two wickets.

Andile Phehlukwayo then got in on the act, taking the big wickets of Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson. Like Morris, he opted to bang the ball in back of a length and used a mixture of cutters and extra bounce to deceive the batsmen.

Tom Bruce, although scratchy, looked threatening as he compiled a bit-part innings of 33. However, Tahir ended New Zealand's hopes in the 10th over when his textbook googlies that accounted for Bruce and Luke Ronchi in successive deliveries.


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Bruce was bowled through the gate and with the next ball, Ronchi's outside edged was kissed on its way through to wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.

It was not a pretty sight on 66 for six, and the final four wickets did not take long to come.

De Grandhomme (15) and Tim Southee (20) played brief cameos as they managed to clear the ropes five times between them. Although it was never going to be near enough as Phehlukwayo and Tahir cleaned up proceedings.

After successive sixes off Tahir, De Grandhomme was outfoxed by a slightly slower and wider leg break which he hit to Duminy on the fence at sweeper, shortly after Santner was undone by a smart Amla catch at cover off Phehlukwayo.

Southee took 20 off Parnell's third over as the left-arm seamer finished a disappointing evening's work with 0-40 off his three overs.

The innings came to a close in the 15th over as Tahir bowled both Ben Wheeler and Southee in the space of three balls. A flat slider accounted for Wheeler, before yet another googly cleaned up Southee.

A clinical performance from the South Africans as they skittled New Zealand for 107 to win the only T20 International between the teams on this tour.

Tahir (5-23) and Phehlukwayo (3-19) both recorded career best figures in T20 international cricket as together with Morris they accounted for all 10 New Zealand wickets.


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The two teams next meet on Sunday 19 February in Hamilton for the first one-day international. The Black Caps will have plenty of work to do if they are to get a handle on this South African line-up and their kingpin Tahir.

Home captain Kane Williamson conceded his team was outplayed and must improve with five ODIs and three tests against the Proteas looming.

"It's frustrating from our perspective, we didn't really fire a shot," he said.

"It's important we learn from this and move on."


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NEW ZEALAND: KS Williamson (capt), GD Phillips, C Munro, TC Bruce, CJ Anderson, C de Grandhomme, L Ronchi (wk), MJ Santner, BM Wheeler, TG Southee, TA Boult

SOUTH AFRICA: HM Amla, Q de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, F du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, F Behardien, CH Morris, WD Parnell, AL Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, D Paterson


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