Hamilton, Feb 19: 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 today.
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 117 run total 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 nice and 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 four for 173, never managing to dominate as South Africa's bowlers produced a far better display than in their six-wicket loss in the opening match in Wellington on Friday.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Colin de Grandhomme, Nathan McCullum, Doug Bracewell, Kyle Mills, Ronnie Hira, Tim Southee. Andrew Ellis, 12th man.
South Africa: A.B.de Villiers (captain), Richard Levi, Hashim Amla, Wayne Parnell, J.P. Duminy, Justin Ontong, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Marchant de Lange, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Robin Peterson, 12th man.
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney and Gary Baxter, New Zealand.