South Africa’s pacemen have torn through New Zealand to win the third one-day international by a demoralising 159 runs and snatch a 2-1 series lead.
After two tight matches which went to the final over, the third game in Wellington turned into a rout on Saturday.
The Black Caps were dismissed for 112, their lowest total in 69 ODIs against the Proteas.
The tourists, who reached an impressive 8-271 in tricky batting conditions, will clinch the five-match series if victorious in one of the remaining games in Hamilton or Auckland.
It was New Zealand’s eighth biggest defeat in all ODIs and it would have been worse if allrounder Colin de Grandhomme hadn’t thumped an unbeaten 34.
Few other Black Caps had much to cheer as they fell well short of their previous lowest score against the Proteas of 134, in Cape Town 13 years ago.
The home batsmen had no answer to the variable bounce and sideways movement generated by the visitors, whose five bowlers shared the wickets.
Tom Latham’s dreadful form continued, caught off Wayne Parnell (2-33) for a a six-ball duck, before opening partner Dean Brownlie (2) feathered a snick off recalled speedster Kagiso Rabada (2-39).
Kane Williamson was spilled early by Hashim Amla at first slip but it wasn’t too costly as the skipper fell for 23.
Game two centurion Ross Taylor’s dismissal for 18, trapped by lively allrounder Dwaine Pretorius (3-5 off 5.2 overs), signalled the end of New Zealand’s hopes.
“They got a lot of movement and they bowled superbly,” Williamson said.
“In hindsight, there was probably a little bit more to extract out of that surface that we weren’t able to get.”
Captain AB de Villiers and opener Quinton de Kock were the key figures in South Africa’s innings, as they have been all series.
De Villiers posted a 51st ODI half century in reaching 85 off 80 balls, the prolific skipper firstly steadying an innings which was losing direction before opening up over the closing stages.
De Villiers put on 100 for the seventh wicket with Parnell (35 off 32) in less than 14 overs, striking seven fours and a six in a milestone knock.
“I didn’t expect the pitch to do that much, I never felt in,” De Villiers said.
“I had a feeling it would be important to bat through and be there at the end. I felt there was a risk our side would be bowled out.”
The peerless De Villiers became the 18th player to pass 9000 ODI runs. He boasts a better average and strike rate than any of his contemporaries.
His 9080 runs have come off 9080 balls while his average is 54.04.
Wicketkeeper/batsman de Kock passed 50 for the fifth successive ODI innings.