Zeenews Sports Bureau
Paarl: Despite consistent criticism, the Kiwi selectors have shown immense faith in James Franklin of late. The left-handed all-rounder on Saturday proved why he was worth it.
The first ODI match between the visitors and Proteas looked like another one-sided match before James Franklin stunned the home crowd as he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat guiding his side to a one-wicket victory at Boland Park, Paarl.
Batting first, South Africa weren’t at their usual best and it once again required a special innings from Faf du Plessis (57) and some lusty blows from Rory Kleinveldt (26 from 20) which helped them reach a respectable score of 208 runs. With their world class bowling atack, anything was possible with 200 plus runs on board.
The Kiwis got off to a disastrous start as Martin Guptil was run out off the second ball by de Villiers. Within no time, the Black Caps were reduced to 105/7 and it was a matter of time that the Proteas once again proved their dominance.
Nathan McCullum and James Franklin showed some resistance as they added 35 runs for the 8th wicket. The wicket fell in the 33rd over and they still needed 69 runs from 17.5 overs. Kyle Mills and James Franklin didn’t look in a hurry and they kept dealing in singles and before one could realise, they had added 47 runs for the 9th wicket before Mills was bowled by McLaren who picked his 4th wicket.
The visitors still needed 22 runs for victory, as Franklin rose to the occasion and all those runs came from his willow as the Kiwi dugout went berserk.
The victory also means that New Zealand now lead the three-match ODI series 1-0.