South Africa romped to a resounding 78-run win over New Zealand as Imran Tahir (5-24) made light work of the New Zealand batting order and the visitors begun their campaign with smiles across the field.
Hashim Amla (62 from 43 balls) played gloriously and starred with the bat as he and du Plessis (36 off 25) wasted no time in laying foundations as they put on a quick-fire 87 for the second wicket, managing an excellent start after being put in to bat.
A handy contribution from de Villiers (26 off 17) on his birthday bolstered the middle order and the Proteas looked set for a 200-plus target on a pitch that is shorter than it is wide and offers tantalizing straight boundary distances. That was before Trent Boult (2-8 in 4 overs) threatened to steal the show by restricting the target to something seemingly manageable.
Boult conceded only two runs per over and brought New Zealand right back into contention at the break. That three of his colleagues (Wheeler, Santner and Southee) went for at least ten runs per over was testament to Boult’s magnificent effort. It was a wonderful fightback.
New Zealand failed to get a single partnership going as Morris (2-10), Phehlukwayo (3-19) and Tahir ripped through the Black Caps line-up. Only Tom Bruve (33 off 27) managed a meaningful contribution but he lacked for company in the middle as the 22 000-strong crowd were left disappointed as the home team were bowled out for 107 runs inside 15 overs.
Tahir’s five-wicket haul was his first in T20 Internationals and was the third by a South African in the format. Of course, he celebrated each wicket as if it were a match-winning moment but you cannot criticise him too much for his enthusiasm.