The BLACKCAPS have started their tour with a convincing 24 run win over South Africa A at City Oval, Pietermaritzburg.
Clever bowling, backed by excellent fielding, gave the visitors a stranglehold on the match after the batsmen put a competitive total on the board.
After winning the toss and electing to bat the BLACKCAPS hit 140 for eight before suffocating South Africa A who limped to 116 for nine in reply.
A superb opening spell from Mitchell McClenaghan got the defence off to a great start, with the fast bowler picking up a wicket in each of his first three overs.
The left-armer was simply unplayable at times, with his pace too much for Davy Jacobs and Stiaan van Zyl who were both bowled out while his third victim, Dane Vilas, was caught behind.
Spinner Ronnie Hira was also dangerous, removing opener Mangaliso Mosehle and the experienced Justin Ontong before collecting the late wicket of Hardus Viljoen.
South Africa’s Vaughn van Jaarsveld resisted with a run-a-ball 43 but was unable to find support. The next best contribution came from number 11 batsman Aaron Phangiso who clubbed 17 off the final over.
McClenaghan ended with impressive figures of three for 19 while Hira returned three for 35.
Earlier, the loss of early wickets hampered the New Zealand run-rate but Brendon McCullum stuck around to make 32 off 28 and build a run-scoring platform.
Colin Munro gave the innings momentum through the middle stages, slamming four boundaries and two sixes on his way to the side’s top score of 39 off 27 deliveries.
Nathan McCullum produced a late cameo, smacking an unbeaten 22 off 15 and Jimmy Neesham helped close out the innings with 13 runs off seven deliveries.
The slow bowlers struggled to contain the New Zealand batsmen with Roelof van der Merwe going for 40 runs off his full complement while fellow spinner Justin Ontong bled 11 runs off his only over.
Fast bowler Kyle Abbott was the best for South Africa taking four for 16 off four overs.
BLACKCAPS 140-8 (C Munro 38, B McCullum 32, N McCullum 22; K Abbott 4-16) beat South Africa A 116-9 (V van Jaarsveld 43; M McClenaghan 3-19, R Hira 3-35) by 24 runs.