Martin Guptill (180 not out) made an heroic come back to the ODI fold in Hamilton as he stroked a bold hundred that gave New Zealand some much-missed oomph with the bat and helped level this series 2-2 with one match to play in Auckland on Saturday.
The Black Caps made light work of a challenging target of 280 on a difficult pitch and cruised to victory by seven wickets with five overs to spare, on a slow Seddon Park wicket.
South Africa lost the the number one ICC ODI world ranking as a result of the loss.
Earlier, another poor showing from the Proteas middle order negated a strong start by the visitors and, once again, it was up to the lower order batsmen to keep AB de Villiers (72 not out) company and resurrect the innings. At the break, South Africa would have fancied defending 279 but Guptill had other ideas.
AB de Villiers won his fourth consecutive toss and elected to bat under sunny skies, and on a surface that was expected to get slower yet as the evening wore on. Chris Morris replaced the injured Andile Phehlukwayo (tight groin) while New Zealand have made three changes: Martin Guptill, Luke Ronchi and Jeetan Patel played in the places of Tom Latham, Neil Broom and Lockie Ferguson.
New Zealand curiously became the first ever side to open with slow bowlers from both ends and they were rewarded with a wicket in the opening over as Jeetan Patel (2-57) found the edge of Quinton de Kock (0 from 1 ball) and in turn helped him trouble the statisticians for it was the first time the young batsman has ever been dismissed for a golden duck in his illustrious international cricket career, across all three formats. Hashim Amla (40 off 38) regained some fluency before he was bowled by the same bowler and Faf du Plessis (67 off 97) once again put up a solid showing.