Kimberley: South Africa on Saturday assured themselves of a series win when they took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the six match One-day International series. The first match was abandoned due to rain.After cruising for the better part of 40 overs South Africa looked in danger of squandering the match in the last ten overs. Coasting at 215 for two at the start of the 40th over South Africa needlessly found themselves at 255 for five in the 46th over. With two new batsmen at the crease and an asking rate of eight an over New Zealand very much looked like pulling one back but sliver-quick knocks of 20 not out and 18 not out by Boje and Boucher respectively, which was inclusive of three hits over the fence (two by Boucher and one by Boje), in no time put to rest any hopes that the Kiwis would have entertained and helped South Africa finish the match with seven balls to spare.
The highlight of the South African chase was a 172-run second wicket partnership between the inform Kirsten and Kallis. Kallis sensing the need for some time out in the middle came at his customary one-drop slot, given the way that Boje's shaping Kallis must have insisted on some batting practice for himself (so high is South Africa's confidence that they are now looking in terms of batting practice, which almost made them pay towards the end).Both Kirsten and Kallis looked very much at home and at easy and not once were they in danger of being unsettled. If they had to be dismissed it had to be of their own making as was the case with Kallis, who with an intent to reach his century with a flourish stepped out and heaved, with a touch of arrogance, only to send it down the throat of deep point. Kallis' knock of 93 included seven authentic hits to the fence and two trade mark scoops over the fence.
Kirsten innings was as usual a mixture of caution and aggression with his customary nudges and pushes peppered with sweetly timed cut and flicks to the fence. His knock of 101 was inclusive of 10 darts to the fence.Earlier, down by 0-2 in the six-match One-day International series, mini World Cup champions New Zealand set South Africa 288 for victory.Roger Twose (90), Stephen Fleming (85) and Chris Nevin (68) shared the batting honours. A 93-partnership for the second wicket between Chris Nevin and skipper Stephen Fleming at the top of the order set the tone for the New Zealand innings. South African skipper Shaun Pollock won the toss and chose to bowl first.
South Africa struck early when the stylish Nathan Astle was caught by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher off Roger Telemachus. Nevin, however, kept the scoreboard ticking fluently with his near run a ball effort.Nevin's 68 came off 69 deliveries and included eight fours as well as one six. Roger Twose and Fleming then continued the good work through the third wicket partnership as New Zealand slowly upped the scoring rate and brought it around the five-run per over mark. Roger Twose slowly came into his own even as Fleming continued to hold fort, at the other end, superbly. Twose gained some much in confidence in the middle that he even smashed Telemachus for a six in the 38th over. New Zealand reached 200 runs in the 40th over when Twose hammered Telemachus for a four.
The 100-run partnership for the third wicket came off 110 balls. Fleming lost his wicket against the run of play when he was beaten by a direct throw from Boeta Dippenaar straight into the gloves of Boucher. Fleming and Twose were attempting two runs and the New Zealand skipper was well short of his crease.New Zealand lost quick wickets at the end as they tried to force the pace. Cairns, McMillan and Twose fell to good catches as they went for the big hits. The first match of the series was washed out due to rain.