South Africa sent New Zealand crashing to an eight-wicket defeat with 47 balls to spare in the first Twenty20 International at Kingsmead on Friday (December 21).
Rory Kleinveldt, the pacer, took two early wickets to start a slide from which New Zealand never recovered. They were bowled out for 86 after winning the toss. Kleinveldt took the key wickets of Rob Nicol and Brendon McCullum, the captain, and finished with three for 18 to capture the Man of the Match award.
South Africa romped home in 12.1 overs with Faf du Plessis, the new captain, making 38 not out, while Quinton de Kock, who making his debut four days after his 20th birthday, slammed a quick 28 not out.
It was a disappointing start for New Zealand, who arrived as underdogs but were expected to put up a reasonable fight in the Twenty20 Internationals.
They were missing several key players, including Ross Taylor, the former captain, who was unavailable for the tour, and suffered another blow when Martin Guptill, the experienced batsman, could not play at Kingsmead because of a stomach ailment.
Trent Boult, the fast bowler, was also unavailable because of a similar complaint.
On a pitch with pace and bounce, New Zealand lost three wickets inside the first five overs. Nicol charged Kleinveldt and was caught behind, while McCullum top-edged a hook and was caught at fine leg. In between Peter Fulton drove Dale Steyn to mid-on.
It did not get much better for the New Zealanders although Colin Munro, the left-handed newcomer who was born in Durban and did his early schooling in the city before his family moved to New Zealand, made 23. Doug Bracewell hit 21 not out.
Steyn, Chris Morris, who was also making his debut, and Robin Peterson, the left-arm spinner, all took two wickets.
Mitchell McClenaghan, one of New Zealand's four debutants, had Richard Levi caught at slip for a duck, bowling a wicket maiden at the start of the South African innings. But Henry Davids and Du Plessis put on 45 before Du Plessis and De Kock finished the match.