South Africa live to fight another day
South Africa kept at bay the danger of an early exit from the tournament they're hosting, with a comfortable five-wicket win over New Zealand at SuperSport Park, reports Anand Vasu. LIVE COVERAGEcricket Updated: Sep 25, 2009 01:29 IST
The party will continue, for the moment anyway.
South Africa kept at bay the danger of an early exit from the tournament they're hosting, with a comfortable five-wicket win over New Zealand at SuperSport Park.
On a pitch that was significantly different from the one at Wanderers that assisted the quick bowlers, New Zealand's batsmen struggled for fluency, and were packed off by an efficient bowling and fielding display.
Jesse Ryder, a crucial component of New Zealand's top order, was late on a pull shot and lobbed the ball up towards midwicket where Roelof van der Merwe backpedalled and took a sharp catch. Martin Guptill briefly flashed, but was suckered by Wayne Parnell and caught off the short ball by the only man in the deep on the leg side.
After Brendon McCullum also fell, with only 92 on the board from 23 overs, Grant Elliott and Ross Taylor began to rebuild, placing a premium on keeping South Africa's bowlers from running away with the game.
The runs dried up and progress was slow as 14 runs came from 7 overs. Elliott then pushed on, playing some pleasing strokes, but tried to force the pace against van der Merwe in the middle of a good spell and was bowled. Taylor, who was content just keeping his end up, shook his head in dismay as yet another partner departed just when things were looking up.
With the overs counting down in a hurry Taylor upped the ante, forcing the ball through the off side with a straight bat and occasionally sweeping hard behind square.
The batting powerplay was taken in the 46th over, but it backfired on New Zealand, who managed 39 runs from those five overs but crucially lost four wickets, including that of Taylor (72) to end on 214.
On a pitch that gripped a bit and assisted the slower bowlers, New Zealand simply did not have the firepower to either bowl out South Africa or keep them from scoring at the required 4.28 an over. That did not stop the seamers from working hard and chipping away even as many batsmen got starts and then failed to convert. There were no such problems for AB de Villiers, though, who was unbeaten on 70 when the winning runs were hit with almost 10 overs to spare.