sport

McLaren seals thrilling SA win

Ryan McLaren hit a six off the last ball of the match to earn South Africa a one-wicket victory over New Zealand on Friday.

South Africa looked to have wasted Graeme Smith's brilliant 116 at the top of the innings when, in pursuit of 261 for victory, they slumped from 229 for five to 258 for nine to be left needing three off the final ball to take the win.

However, McLaren smashed James Franklin for a maximum off the last delivery as the Proteas squeezed home in remarkable fashion to end a disappointing ODI series on a winning note.

McLaren's 25 not out proved crucial as wickets tumbled around him and followed an impressive bowling spell by the all-rounder as he claimed four for 52 in New Zealand's 260 for nine.

It was Smith who provided the backbone of South Africa's successful run chase, though.

The Test captain struck 14 fours in scoring 116 and looked to have steered the hosts into a winning position, only to undo some of his good work as he tried to launch Kane Williamson down the ground and succeeded only in finding BJ Watling at long-on.

Smith's dismissal in the 46th over sparked a New Zealand fightback that almost won them the match, with South Africa tailenders Rory Kleinveldt (six), Aaron Phangiso (nine) and Dale Steyn (four) unable to hang around and give McLaren the support he needed.

Fortunately for the Proteas though, when Steyn was caught at cow corner off the penultimate ball of the match, the batsmen were able to cross and McLaren finished the job in perfect fashion to send the home fans wild.

It also avoided an embarrassing ODI whitewash for the South Africans, who had thrashed New Zealand in both Test matches and also won the Twenty20 series.

New Zealand, buoyant after pocketing their first ODI series win in South Africa on Tuesday, had earlier built what looked a defendable total thanks to half-centuries from Grant Elliott (54), Colin Munro (57) and James Franklin (53 not out).

McLaren impressed with four wickets, as did Lonwabo Tsotsobe who finished with four for 45 off his 10 overs.