All-rounder Ryan McLaren struck a last ball six to help South Africa to a thrilling 1-wicket win in the Third and Final ODI at Potchefstroom. The hosts managed to avoid an otherwise embarassing 0-3 cleansweep against the Black Caps.
Never ever has this happened of the Blackcaps pulling off a cleansweep against a formidable opposition in the recent times. History says that the last time New Zealand inflicted a cleansweep against a major opponent was back in 2006/07 at home again Australia, the series score being 3-0.
How quickly fortunes change in the game of cricket. Till a few days back, India and New Zealand were being criticised over their shambolic performances in the Tests. Over the last two days though these very teams have made strong comebacks, defeating England and South Africa respectively.
The unsung New Zealanders went onto take an unassailable 2-0 lead over hosts South Africa in their 3-match ODI Series. South Africa suffered with a team that had so little experience and led by Faf du Plessis who was still establishing himself as an international player.
The way South Africa battered New Zealand in the Tests, no one would have given them a chance of competing in the ODIs against a strong Proteas outfit. They may still go on to lose the series, but New Zealand’s performance in the opening one-dayer at Paarl would be something that they can memorably remember about this otherwise forgettable tour.
Although New Zealand faltered in all departments of their game in the Tests against South Africa, it was their trepid batting that let them down in a big way. Scores of 47, 275, 121 and 211 won’t win you matches unless you have an extraordinary bowling line up, which the Kiwis do not possess.