Durban: An experimental South Africa team cantered to an eight-wicket win over New Zealand in their opening Twenty20 game on Friday after the tourists slumped to their third-lowest T20 score in a dismal start to their tour.
South Africa needed just 12.1 overs to reach 87 for 2 and overhaul New Zealand's 86 all out. Left badly exposed by the absence of experienced players themselves - including former captain Ross Taylor - New Zealand needed 23 from debutant Colin Munro to help it past its record low in 20-over games, 80 all out against Pakistan in 2010.
Seamer Rory Kleinvedlt (3 for 18) and left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (2 for 8) did the bowling damage for South Africa while stand-in captain Faf du Plessis led South Africa home in his first game in charge, hitting the winning runs and finishing 38 not out. Wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock was 28 not out on his international debut.
"No complaints, it was a fantastic game for us. Very happy," Du Plessis said. "It's the standard we've set, but the standard we have to keep for the remainder of the series."
Desperate to perform well under new skipper Brendon McCullum and put aside the controversy over the exit of Taylor as captain, New Zealand's relatively experienced top order all failed and left the four debutants it fielded in the series-opener with little chance to revive the innings.
McCullum was one of the failures as he fell for six to a relentless South African seam attack. The visitors were 36 for 6 at one stage before the South African-born Munro and then tailender Doug Bracewell (21 not out) gave them some small respectability.
Rob Nicol (3), Peter Fulton (9), McCullum and James Franklin (0) all went cheaply at the start of the innings as South African seamers Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn (2 for 13), Chris Morris (2 for 19) and Ryan McLaren (1 for 27) cashed in on regular mistimed attacking shots by the New Zealand batsmen.
Peterson then helped mop up the tail with his 2 for 8 off four overs — the most economical bowling from a South African in T20 internationals.
"We came here to play some aggressive cricket," New Zealand captain McCullum said, "but first things first we do have to do some fundamentals right to earn the right to be aggressive ... We got a couple of things we didn't get right."
Munro, who made his New Zealand debut back in the city of his birth, Durban, hit four fours in a brief counterattack. Bracewell struck three boundaries in a 21-run partnership with Ronnie Hira for the ninth wicket — the highest stand of the innings. New Zealand was still bowled out with 10 balls remaining of its 20 overs.
Debutant fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan removed Richard Levi for a duck in the first over of South Africa's reply for a rare high spot for the tourists.
But Henry Davids — also on debut — hit a six and three fours in his 20 from 13 balls to kick start the Proteas' chase and new leader Du Plessis continued his belligerent form from the victorious tour of Australia to take South Africa home.