Positive mentality key to Proteas win - De Villiers

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AB de Villiers praised Faf du Plessis and David Miller's positive mindset as South Africa put a shaky start with the bat behind them to win the one-day international series with New Zealand.

A fine bowling display from the Proteas attack restricted the hosts to just 149 in Auckland on Saturday, the Black Caps dismissed with almost nine overs of their allocation remaining.

Only Colin de Grandhomme (34), Mitchell Santner, James Neesham and Dean Brownlie (all 24) reached double figures for the hosts to leave them in trouble in the decider.

De Grandhomme (1-16) and Jeetan Patel (2-26) struck early to leave the tourists 48-3 by the 16th over to give Kane Williamson's side some hope, but Du Plessis (51 not out), De Villiers (23) and Miller (45no) steadied the ship superbly.

After De Villiers was dismissed for 23, Du Plessis and Miller guided South Africa from 88-4 to their 150-run target with an unbeaten stand of 62, and their skipper was thrilled with their approach.

"They came back well, they are always a team that squeezes really well," said De Villiers.

"They put the pressure back on us and it is always easy to go into a negative mindset in such a situation, so we decided to stay positive and it was a fantastic knock from both Faf and David to take us across the line."

De Villiers also had praise for his bowling unit, led by Kagiso Rababa (3-25), for putting his side in a great position to edge a thrilling ODI series that went right down to the wire.

"We got the upper hand today and conditions were quite tough early on but we bowled really well and asked the right questions," he added.

"It was difficult to penetrate the field early on and get some boundaries, so I decided to put the squeeze on, which resulted in wickets at the wrong time for them which made our job a lot easier.

"Credit must go to New Zealand for an excellent series, it's not often that a series goes to two-all."