Trent Boult's spectacular bowling and Ross Taylor's record hundred helped New Zealand level the five-match ODI series against South Africa at Christchurch. The win brought an end to the Proteas' 12-match winning streak in ODIs.
Electing to bowl first, the Proteas struggled to contain Taylor and Neesham after they had got through the top order. The pair helped New Zealand to 289 with an unbeaten 123-run partnership after Williamson notched up a fifty himself.
South Africa got off to a good start courtesy Quinton de Kock but New Zealand kept finding breakthroughs at regular intervals. AB de Villiers and David Miller were tasked with getting South Africa back on track, but Boult dismissed de Villiers after Sodhi had Miller and the game seemed to be reaching its climax.
But Dwaine Pretorius had other ideas and showed exactly why he is an underrated all-rounder in the Proteas team as he put on a 61 run stand for the ninth wicket with Andile Phehlukwayo. Pretorius hit a fifty in the process but Boult delivered an over full of yorkers that ended with one that crashed into Pretorius' stumps.
With 15 needed off the final over, Phehlukwayo could only manage four dots and two fours as South Africa fell six runs short.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 289/4 in 50 overs (Taylor 102, Neesham 71, Pretorius 2/40) beat South Africa 283/9 (de Kock 57, Pretorius 50, Boult 3/63)
Here are the talking points from the second ODI at Christchurch.
#1 Williamson falters against Tahir
New Zealand's biggest headache before the series against South Africa was Imran Tahir's sensational form. An unstoppable force in limited overs cricket, Tahir ripped through the Kiwi batsman with a five-wicket haul in the only T20 at Eden Park.
However, New Zealand coach, Hesson, and Kane Williamson decided to take the attack to the leggie and the move paid off in the first ODI where he went wicketless. In the second, Williamson and the others once again targeted the spinner.
While he was taken for 61 in his 10 over spell with Ross Taylor and Neesham playing him sublimely, Williamson could not quite execute his plans as he top edged Tahir to be dismissed after scoring a half-century.
#4 Ross Taylor's record and partnership with Neesham
Ross Taylor overtook Nathan Astle’s record for most ODI hundreds by a New Zealander in style. The middle order batsman had equalled Astle's record in the series against Australia and at Christchurch, he bettered it by slamming the 17th hundred of his One Day International career as he helped New Zealand to a good total on a sluggish wicket.
Taylor looked comfortable against all the bowlers, going about his business in a nonchalant fashion.
He had able company in James Neesham, who notched up his 3rd half-century in ODIs and the pair put on 123 in less than 18 overs. The stand helped New Zealand to a total that was enough to end South Africa's 12-match winning streak.
#3 Tom Latham affected by keeping responsibilities?
New Zealand have recently entrusted Tom Latham with keeping responsibilities despite having Tom Blundell in the past series and Luke Ronchi in this one. However, Latham's string of low scores have eerily coincided with New Zealand giving him keeping duties.
Latham averages 34.60 as a batsman in 46 ODIs against an average of 7.42 in seven ODIs as a keeper. Although the number of matches played is significantly skewed, the trend is pretty clear.
Dean Brownlie and George Worker are available as back up openers and it may not be long before the Kiwis run out of patience with Latham. This year, the southpaw has scored just nine runs in four innings at an average of 2.25, hardly stats that inspire confidence.
#2 de Villiers falls after holding together the batting line-up
A chase of 290 on a sluggish wicket was never going to be easy. de Kock gave the Proteas a decent start but found himself running out of partners as Amla and Faf du Plessis were dismissed in quick succession. After Duminy and de Kock himself had departed, de Villiers knew he had to play the anchor role if South Africa were to chase the total down.
The dynamic batsman played positive cricket but did not try for the big shots as he and Miller strung together a 68 run stand before the latter was caught behind off an Ish Sodhi wrong 'un. de Villiers had a string of all-rounders partnering him thereafter and knew that if he stayed at crease, the chase was on.
However, the ODI skipper only managed to edge Trent Boult off a slow bouncer to be dismissed for 45 off 49 balls.
#1 Dwaine Pretorius makes a match out it
South Africa suddenly seem to have a plethora of all-rounders in the team. Dwaine Pretorius, who has a batting average of 42 in first-class cricket, is the latest to prove his capability on the international stage.
Unlike Phehlukwayo, Parnell and Morris, Pretorius is more than a handy finisher with the bat. With de Villiers gone, the game looked like it was heading New Zealand's way. But Pretorius had other ideas and slammed Boult and Southee for sixes to make his intentions clear.
He took the game took the penultimate over, slamming a maiden ODI half-century in the process. However, Pretorius was cleaned up by Boult in a match-turning penultimate over. Earlier, the all-rounder was the best bowler on display as well, taking 2/40 in 10 economical overs.