Opener's century guides home side to 304 for 7 as New Zealand falls 20 runs short in first ODI
A fluent century by Hashim Amla and a combined effort by the bowlers helped South Africa beat New Zealand by 20 runs in the first One-Day International in Centurion on Wednesday (August 19).
After being put in to bat, Amla (124) and Rilee Rossouw (89) shared a second-wicket partnership of 185 as South Africa scored 304 for 7. Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Imran Tahir and David Wiese then picked two wickets apiece to bowl the visiting side out for 284 in 48.1 overs.
Amla, who had gone 10 international innings without a fifty since making 159 against Ireland in a ICC Cricket World Cup match in Canberra on March 3, found his customary fluency as he posted a half-century off 54 balls and his 21st ODI hundred off 109 deliveries. He was dropped on 74 when a diving Tom Latham at cover could not hold a fierce drive off Colin Munro, a part-time bowler.
Rossouw initially struggled to find his timing on a slow pitch, scoring only two runs off the first 17 balls he faced and reached his fifty off 81 balls, but picked up his scoring rate to finish with 89 off 112 balls.
New Zealand's pacers struck after the Amla-Rossouw partnership and pulled things back slightly, but South Africa managed a total in excess of 300.
In its chase, New Zealand lost Luke Ronchi to Dale Steyn in the first over, but Tom Latham gave it a solid platform in the company of Kane Williamson, the stand-in captain. The duo added 104 for the second wicket before Williamson fell to Tahir three runs short of a half-century.
Martin Guptill then made a positive start and rushed to 25 off 23 balls but then perished to Wiese in the 28th over. Two overs later, Philander delivered a double-blow, dismissing Grant Elliott and Latham in a space of three balls to make New Zealand's chase an uphill climb.
The visiting side was in trouble, but a run-a-ball 41 from James Neesham and a 32-ball 33 from Colin Munro kept the chase alive. It was, however, a case of too little too late as the lower order succumbed to the pressure of falling wickets and increasing asking rate.
The second of the three-match series begins in Potchefstroom on August 23.
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