The Proteas Blue Label Telecoms squad expected the New Zealand backlash, which helped the visitors square the three-match KFC International series going into the final match at Axxess St George’s in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. The Black Caps overcame a poor first outing on Friday in Durban, to put themselves back into the series with an eight-wicket win (D/L method) in the second match.
“I’ve always said that New Zealand has always been a great fighting team, we have never taken them lightly,” Faf du Plessis said after Sunday’s loss. “They have match winners in their team which was the case with Martin Guptil tonight, he played a fantastic innings. To score a hundred in a game like that, I think your team deserves it (the win).”
Guptil’s 69-ball century outshone an average bowling performance from the Proteas, in challenging coastal conditions.
“I actually thought our seamers bowled really well, the ball was really wet so that made it tough for the spinners,” Du Plessis said. “That is something I didn’t anticipate, I didn’t think the ball would skid on as much as it did for the coast.
“The seamers I thought bowled well under pressure in the last four overs, those were good conditions to bat in because the ball was skidding off the pitch.”
Du Plessis admitted that the hazy overhead conditions did play a part in the Proteas missed opportunities, but was also quick to concede that there was “no excuse” for dropping catches.
Earlier, it was the batsmen who set the platform with a healthy first innings score of 169 (D/L Method), highlighted by Henry Davids’ maiden T20 half-century and 63 off 43 balls from the captain himself.
“I was very happy with the batting,” he said. “The conditions weren’t as good batting first, and it was a little bit slow so I thought 169 was a match-winning score, obviously that wasn’t the case.”
The other standout performer was David Miller, who revved up the momentum with an 18-ball 33.
“It was a fantastic innings, to come in at that stage when conditions made it difficult to come in and start scoring was great, I certainly struggled when I came in. David came in and hit the ball sweetly to all parts of the field. It’s great to have him back, he is a young talent and he brings a lot to the team.”