T20 cricket lived up to its unpredictable character at Lords on Tuesday, as South Africa pulled off a dramatic one-run win over New Zealand. It was Roelof van der Merwe’s tight spell (2/14) that engineered a late South African comeback, as he picked up the crucial wickets of Ross Taylor (22 off 31) and Brendon McCullum (57 off 54). Needing 15 off the last over, the Kiwis could only end up with 127/5.
Until about the 15th over, the Kiwis were in cruise control. However, when Taylor was dismissed playing a rash stroke, New Zealand lost the momentum, bringing to an end a well-constructed 50-run partnership. McCullum followed Taylor back, stumped off van der Merwe. And then, things just got tougher for the Kiwis. Needing around 10 an over from then on till the end, they felt the heat, before eventually falling short by one run. It was McCullum’s wicket that turned the match for South Africa, as the Kiwi skipper was on course to take his side home.
The Kiwis got off to a rather shaky start, losing the wickets of Martin Guptill and Neil Broom in quick succession.
Earlier, after being sent in to bat, South Africa managed a modest score of 128/7 off 20 overs. While Graeme Smith starred for the Proteas with a 35-ball 33, New Zealand’s superb fielding, along with Ian Butler’s spell of 2/13 kept the South Africans in check.
SA 128-7 in 20 overs (Smith 33, Duminy 29, Kallis 24; Butler 2-13) bt NZ 127-5 in 20 overs (McCullum 57, Oram 24, Taylor 22; van der Merwe 2-14) by one run