South Africa's Richard Levi rewrote the record books with a magnificent unbeaten 117 as the Proteas crushed New Zealand by eight wickets in the second Twenty20 international on Sunday.
Levi's 45-ball century was the fastest ever in T20 internationals and included the most sixes, with 13, in a performance which had spectators at the sold out Seddon Park ground in Hamilton ducking for cover.
His knock of 117 also equalled the highest ever score by a batsman in a T20 international, matching the mark set by Chris Gayle of the West Indies against South Africa in 2007. South African skipper AB de Villiers (39) provided able support as his team reached the 174 target set by New Zealand with ease, but it was Levi who demolished the Black Caps in only his second international appearance.
“It was good fun, every shot I played came off, which was quite nice and I just kept myself calm and collected and kept going,” the hulking 24-year-old said.
The win levels the three match series 1-1 heading into the final game in Auckland on Wednesday. Levi came out firing, plundering 23 off 10 balls in the first two overs, and never relented even after Hashim Amla (2) and Wayne Parnell (4) departed early. He punished all of New Zealand's bowlers but it was a particularly painful night for Doug Bracewell, who conceded 37 runs off his two overs.
New Zealand had made 173 for four, never managing to dominate as South Africa's bowlers produced a far better display than in the opening match on Friday. — AFP
New Zealand: R. Nicol (run out) 23, M. Guptill c A. Morkel b de Lange 47, B. McCullum c Ontong b Botha 35, K. Williamson (not out) 28, J. Franklin c de Villiers b M. Morkel 28, C. de Grandhomme (not out) 3, Extras (b-1, lb-3, w-5) 9; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs) 173.
Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-97, 3-114, 4-159.
South Africa bowling: Botha 4-0-22-1, Tsotsobe 3-0-23-0, M. Morkel 4-0-38-1, de Lange 4-0-43-1, Parnell 2-0-15-0, Duminy 3-0-28-0.
South Africa: R. Levi (not out) 117, H. Amla c Franklin b N. McCullum 2, W. Parnell st. B. McCullum b Nicol 4, AB de Villiers (not out) 39, Extras (lb-2, w-10) 12; Total (for two wkts. in 16 overs) 174.
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-41.
New Zealand bowling: N. McCullum 2-0-18-1, Bracewell 2-0-37-0, Southee 4-0-40-0, Nicol 1-0-10-1, Hira 4-0-34-0, Mills 2-0-26-0, Franklin 1-0-7-0.