New Zealand fought back well to bowl hot favorites South Africa to register a 49-run stunning victory in the ICC 2011 World Cup quarters played here in Dhaka. Disciplined New Zealand bowlers dismissed South Africans for 172.
Thus, the thrice semi-finalists South Africa’s dream shattered with stunning performance by the New Zealand bowlers. They put up an inspired fielding and bowling performances. South Africa begun its chase of 222 set by New Zealand on a shaky note, losing its in-form opener Amla. However, they appeared to be coasting well at 108-2 in the 24th, but crumbled to 172 all out.
The turning point came when Jacob Oram took an athletic catch on the boundary to dismiss Jacques Kallis on 47, and the rot set in for South Africa. AB de Villiers was run out for 32 after Faf du Plessis called for a needless single to give New Zealand a second wicket in three balls and leave South Africa reeling on 121-5 in the 28th over. Tempers flared when New Zealand’s 12th man, Kyle Mills, appeared to say something to Du Plessis after running out with the drinks, prompting some barging and angry exchanges between the two sets of players. It was a sign of the high tension in the middle, tension that South Africa’s players succumbed to. Du Plessis and Morne Morkel rallied their team briefly with a ninth-wicket stand of 26 but it was too little, too late.
Earlier, Daniel Vettori returning as captain after two matches out won the toss and chose to bat but the loss of two early wickets put the Kiwis on the back foot early. Jesse Ryder (83) and Ross Taylor (43) combined for the third wicket and cautiously guided the team past the 150 mark, but when the New Zealanders tried to increase the scoring rate at the end of the innings, they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Graeme Smith’s tactic of rotating his bowlers in short spells and varying his fields was key. Morne Morkel (3-46) taking two wickets in the penultimate over to prevent the late and lofty hitting. Dale Steyn (2-42) and Imran Tahir (2-32) snared two wickets apiece. Spinners Tahir, Robin Peterson and Johan Botha played central roles in South Africa’s progress to the quarterfinal, and New Zealand’s response was to include their own spin trio in Vettori, Nathan McCullum and Luke Woodcock, making his World Cup debut in place of injured fast bowler Kyle Mills.
Smith handed Peterson the new ball. The left-arm spinner took two early wickets when Smith tried the same ploy against England, and it worked wonders again.
A jubilant New Zealand team now heads to Colombo for Tuesday’s semifinal against Sri Lanka or England, while South Africa heads home to deal with the fallout from another big-match failure that leaves them winless in five World Cup knockout matches.