New Zealand level series

New Zealand have comprehensively beaten South Africa today, after limiting the home side to 209 early on.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat. A move they would soon come to regret. Two balls into the match and comeback kid Kyle Mills had Herschelle Gibbs out for a duck.

Mills had the ball swinging away from the opener, producing a thick edge for Styris at second slip to gobble up. Fellow opener Graeme Smith was to suffer the same fate only two overs later, when he too was dismissed by Mills for nought.

Another edge and another slips catch and the second South African opener was on his way back to the pavilion.

de Villiers joined Kallis at the crease and only lasted 13 balls before being bowled by Gillespie for eight. At 3-20, South Africa had gotten off to the worst possible start.

Kallis began to do what he does best and slowed things down, going into damage control mode. At the end of the 15th over South Africa were yet to get the team 50 on the board and before long things had gone from bad to worse with Duminy out for 23 and Kallis gone soon after for 26.

Duminy was caught at deep midwicket, when he tried to slog Patel out of the ground and Kallis was caught at deep backward point off the bowling of Jacob Oram, trying to force the run rate. Kallis? 26 had taken 60 deliveries and at 5-66 after 22 overs, a team total of 100 was looking uncertain, with the Proteas? Durban heroics looking far, far away.

It was up to Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher to rescue the South African innings. The two set about their business patiently, building the score towards a reasonable total and guiding South Africa out of imminent danger.

By the time the partnership was finally broken in the 44th over, when Vettori had Boucher caught at mid-on, the two had put on 89 runs in the six wicket partnership. Boucher had put on 48 and Pollock was to make 52 before being bowled by a Gillespie yorker.

The real fireworks came late in the innings however. Fresh from his Durban exploits less than a week ago, Andre Nel launched into the Black Caps, slamming on two sixes and three fours in front of the adoring home crowd. His 30 came in just 13 balls at a strike rate of over 230, to take the South African score to 209, a score they would have been delighted with at 5-66.

Things didn?t go to plan for New Zealand when Vincent was run out early for nine, but the result was never in doubt after that, as McCullum and How put on a superb 154 run partnership that had the South African bowlers scratching their heads in search of answers.

McCullum made 81 before being run out and How 76 before being trapped LBW, in a radiant display of one-day batting, in difficult conditions to win the match for the visitors, in the end by seven wickets.

The result sets up the series nicely at one win apiece going into the decider in Cape Town on Sunday where New Zealand could set themselves up for a memorable series victory.

South Africa 9-209
Shaun Pollock 52, Mark Boucher 48
Mills 3-43, Gillespie 3-55

New Zealand 3-210
McCullum 81, How 76
Langeveldt 1-40

New Zealand won by seven wickets

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