A tail-end collapse by the Black Caps cost them any chance of holding out the chasing South Africans in their Champions Trophy one-day cricket match overnight.

New Zealand posted a disappointing 214 in 47.5 overs after being invited to bat first in the group B match at Centurion. The hosts cruised to 5-217 in 41.1 overs in reply.

Only Ross Taylor prospered for the Black Caps as he top scored with 72, his 11th one-day half-century, while Brendon McCullum (44) and Grant Elliot (39) were best of the rest.

McCullum played within himself as he guided his side towards 100 inside 25 overs but fell when well set after top-edging a sweep off spinner Johan Botha.

His 68-ball innings featured three fours and two sixes, before the onus went on the middle order with New Zealand 92 for three in the 24th over.

A stubborn 95-ball stand between Taylor and Elliot ended when Elliot chose the wrong line and his middle stump was pushed back by a deceptive delivery from spinner Roelof van der Merwe.

Taylor's innings came to an end when he missed a low full toss and was trapped leg before by Wayne Parnell.

The Black Caps were on track to post a respectable score but the innings folded quickly as the last five wickets fell for just 11 runs.

"Our batsmen got bogged down as we sought a competitive score of about 250 runs," skipper Daniel Vettori said. "Ross and Grant handled the spinners well but the partnership did not last long enough."

The New Zealanders chose to play backup wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins as a specialist batsman ahead of using a second specialist spinner in Jeetan Patel.

It was a regrettable decision given the bounce and turn extracted by South African slow bowlers Johan Botha and van der Merwe.

Left-armer van der Merwe, in particular, bowled extremely well for his figures of two for 35 off 10 overs.

But AB de Villiers was the match winner, sealing success with a four having top scored with an unbeaten 70 in 76 balls, including nine boundaries.

Hasahim Amla (38) and Jacques Kallis (36) helped keep the score ticking over.

"This was a big day for us and we stood up to deliver a much improved performance. Our bowlers set the tone in the first 15 overs with good intensity and they hit the right areas hard," said South Africa skipper Graeme Smith.

"It was a clinical job well started and well finished..."

New Zealand

Brendon McCullum c Duminy b Botha 44
Jesse Ryder c van der Merwe b Parnell 8
Martin Guptill c Amla b Parnell 21
Ross Taylor lbw b Parnell 72
Grant Elliot bowled Van der Merwe 39
Neil Broom lbw b Van der Merwe 1
Gareth Hopkins c Duminy b Parnell 13
Kyle Mills c De Villiers b Steyn 0
Daniel Vettori not out 1
Daryl Tuffey c Duminy b Parnell 4
Shane Bond c De Villiers b Steyn 0
Extras: (4b, 5lb, 1w, 1nb) 11
TOTAL: (all out) 214
Overs: 47.5.

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-58, 3-92, 4-163, 5-171, 6-203, 7-204, 8-209, 9-213.

Bowling: Dale Steyn 9.5-1-32-2, Wayne Parnell 8-0-57-5 (1w), Jacques Kallis 8-0-24-0, Albie Morkel 3-0-13-0 (1nb), Johan Botha 9-1-44-1, Roelof van der Merwe 10-1-35-2.

South Africa

Graeme Smith c Vettori b Tuffey 7
Hashim Amla lbw b Vettori 38
Jacques Kallis c McCullum b Bond 36
A.B. de Villiers not out 70
J.P. Duminy c McCullum b Mills 11
Mark Boucher c McCullum b Tuffy 28
Albie Morkel not out 19
Extras: (2lb, 4w, 2nb) 8
TOTAL: (for 5 wickets) 217
Overs: 41.1.

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-74, 3-108, 4-138, 5-180.

Bowling: Kyle Mills 8.1-0-45-1 (1nb), Shane Bond 10-0-51-1 (2w), Daryl Tuffey 9-1-52-2 (1w), Daniel Vettori 10-1-34-1 (1w), Jesse Ryder 2-0-15-0, Martin Guptill 1-0-13-0 (1nb), Grant Elliot 1-0-5-0.

Result: South Africa won by five wickets.
Toss: South Africa.
Umpires: Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, Pakistan.