South Africa hailed a battling Faf du Plessis Saturday after whipping New Zealand in the final one-day international to win the series and reclaim the world number one slot.
"He's a wonderful player who has turned into a great player over the past few years," captain AB de Villiers said after du Plessis anchored a six-wicket win to give South Africa the series 3-2.
The victory moved South Africa ahead of Australia in the world rankings after they had slipped to second earlier in the series.
With de Plessis anchoring the innings and David Miller plundering boundaries with 45 off 35 balls, South Africa took less than 33 overs to overhaul the Kiwi's 149.
Du Plessis ended the game with a boundary which also took him to 51 and his 26th ODI half century.
De Villiers singled out his bowlers "for a fantastic effort" to destroy the New Zealand innings before du Plessis led the side home.
"It's very easy in those situations to go into a negative mindset and we decied to stay positive. It was a fantastic knock by Faf and David to take us across the line."
New Zealand were made to struggle throughout the match with a performance which captain Kane Williamson labelled "not good enough".
SCORES IN BRIEF
NEW ZEALAND: 149 all out in 41.1 overs (de Grandhomme 32; Rabada 3-25, Tahir 2-14)
SOUTH AFRICA: 150 for 4 in 32.2 overs (du Plessis 51 not out, Miller 45 not out; Patel 2-26)
Result: South Africa won by 6 wickets and clinched the five-match series 3-2.
Player-of-the-match: K Rabada.