Black Caps find relief in surprise gritty win
From cowed to almost cocky, the Black Caps now believe they're a good chance to seal a one-day series win against South Africa.
New Zealand's one-wicket win in the first game of the three-match series, would have caught most people by surprise.
Now, having achieved it, the talk out of the camp was about doing it again.
"We're under no illusions that we have to be almost at our best, if not our best, to compete with these guys and win. Particularly over here in South Africa," man-of-the-match James Franklin said.
But they're convinced it is do-able. "We've now got a real chance of maybe winning a one-day series," Franklin added.
Especially if the wickets at Kimberley, in the early hours of Wednesday morning (NZ time), and Potchefstroom, three days later, play like the first one did at Paarl. Slow and abrasive by South African standards, it suited New Zealand's bowling attack.
So much so that part-time offspinner Kane Williamson took four for 22, including the prized scalp of Faf du Plessis, as South Africa were bowled out for 208.
The bowling attack was set up by the new-ball pairing of Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Mills trapped Hashim Amla in front, before Graeme Smith and A B de Villiers became McClenaghan's first two one-day international wickets.
McClenaghan went on to take four for 20, to give him the best one-day figures by any New Zealand bowler on one-day debut.
"He's a hugely attacking bowler, and he swings it and he's pretty nippy," said Franklin.
"For a guy to come in and do that against South Africa, in their own back yard, is nothing short of outstanding."
New Zealand's reply got off to its customary start, with Rob Nicol running out Martin Guptill for nought and then nicking Lonwabo Tsotsobe to Graeme Smith at slip on four.
Williamson also didn't make many runs but at least B J Watling (45) was going well. He came in at three, with Brendon McCullum dropping to five in a rejigged batting order. Captain McCullum went for 26, to a rough lbw shout off Rory Kleinveldt.
He tried to refer the decision but intermittent power problems at the ground meant there was no DRS (decision review system).
"But I still could've hit the ball, rather than needing it to be reviewed," McCullum said.
At 105 for seven, things were looking pretty grim. But Franklin and Nathan McCullum put on 35 for the eighth wicket, before Mills and Franklin added 47.
Mills went at 187, with New Zealand still 22 short of their target, and McClenaghan the only man left to support Franklin.
"I knew it was obviously me that had to get the majority of the runs, with one wicket left.
"It was up to me to win the game," said Franklin.
That he did, when he scythed a Ryan McLaren delivery through point for four to win the match with 26 balls remaining.
Neither team's cricket was especially pretty but, after the humiliating test defeats New Zealand have suffered in the past fortnight, they were happy to take the victory however it came.
"To be behind the eight-ball and still find a way to win is great for us," Brendon McCullum said.
The Dominion Post