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Proteas clinch ODI series against Kiwis

NZN 4/03/2017 Ben Leahy

Led by Faf du Plessis and David Miller, South Africa have easily reeled in a modest Black Caps victory target of 150 to claim a series-deciding six-wicket win in the fifth ODI in Auckland.

Du Plessis clinched a 3-2 series victory for the Proteas at Eden Park on Saturday when he pulled Black Caps paceman Trent Boult for four in the 33rd over to finish 51 not out.

The Black Caps had refused to lie down all series, despite the Proteas arriving in New Zealand as the world's No.1 ODI team on a 14-match winning streak.

Skipper Kane Williamson cycled through four bowlers in the first 12 overs and when spinner Jeetan Patel claimed the wicket of JP Duminy in the 16th over, he not only had bowling figures of 3-2 but the Proteas were in trouble at 3-48.

However, a steadying 23 from 21 balls by AB de Villiers, including two sixes, put the Proteas back on track, before du Plessis and Miller (45 not out) took over to guide the visitors home with a 62-run partnership.

De Villiers' small but important knock was enough to ensure he top scored in the series with 262 runs at 87.33.

Williamson said the Black Caps took heart defending a small total after talking about their recent ODI clash against Australia at Eden Park as an example of how fast games can change.

"We truly believed, even at the halfway point ... if we put [South Africa] under pressure, anything can happen," Williamson said.

"But it would have been much nicer to have a few more runs on the board."

Earlier, South Africa rolled the Kiwis for a dismal 149, their equal-third lowest total when batting first at Eden Park.

The rot set in early for the Black Caps on Saturday as their top order capitulated inside 17 overs to be 4-51.

Experienced trio Martin Guptill (four), Williamson (nine) and Ross Taylor (eight) all failed to reach double digits in front of the Auckland crowd of 19,142.

It was left to Kiwi tailenders Mitchell Santner (24) and Colin de Grandhomme (32) to steady the innings as they put on a patient 45-run partnership, while powerful all-rounder Jimmy Neesham chipped in with 24.

Tweaker Imran Tahir returned sparkling figures of 2-14 runs from 10 overs with only former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock having ever bowled a more economical ODI spell for South Africa.

Captain de Villiers hailed Tahir's "amazing" performance.

"From the word go he was really in control of his rhythms and he just controlled the game really well for us, drying it up at the one end and getting wickets,"' he said.

Tahir was ably assisted by South Africa's pace battery, including Kagiso Rabada, whose 3-25 earned him man-of-the-match honours, while the Proteas were also dazzling in the field, including two brilliant run outs by de Villiers and Duminy.

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