New Zealand defeated South Africa by four wickets in a closely-fought match at Birmingham on Wednesday. It was a must-win match for South Africa and they gave it their all in a desperate attempt to stay in the World Cup, but that wasn't enough.
Rassie van der Dussen scored 67 to lift South Africa to a respectable score of 241-6. Kane Williamson (106 not out) then played an ice-cool innings as he guided his side to victory with three balls to spare.
The Proteas have won only one of their six matches (with one no-result in it), and are practically out of the running for a spot in the semifinals. On the other hand, New Zealand move to the top of the table after the win; they are undefeated after five matches.
There are several reasons why New Zealand won Wednesday’s match. Let us look at the three most important ones.
#3 Picking up wickets at the right times
Captain Kane Williamson will be delighted with his team’s bowling performance. The Kiwis took wickets at important times to restrict South Africa to a below-par score of 241-6; South Africa would have aimed for 270 runs.
New Zealand got off to a great start. Trent Boult bowled South Africa’s ace opener Quinton de Kock (5 runs) with the score on 9.
The batsmen went into their shells after his dismissal. They crawled along to 22-1 after seven overs. The sedate start left the middle-order with too much to do in the last 10 overs.
Faf du Plessis (23) was bowled by a Lockie Ferguson yorker with the score on 59. Amla (55) reached a half-century but was bowled soon after.
Aiden Markram (38) was caught five overs later, attempting to lift the run-rate. The score was now 136-4 after 32.5 overs.
This was the pattern of the innings: losing wickets at the wrong times. South Africa scored 43 runs from the last five overs, but it was not enough to prevent a New Zealand victory.
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