World Cup 2019: The brain fade moment that cost South Africa the game against New Zealand

New Zealand v South Africa - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
New Zealand v South Africa - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

In Match 25 of ICC World Cup 2019, New Zealand defeated South Africa in a last-over thriller by 4 wickets. With this win, New Zealand moved to the top of the table with 9 points from 5 matches, and South Africa went down to the 7th position with just 3 points from 6 matches. With just three more matches remaining, it's highly unlikely for South Africa to qualify to the semi-finals of this World Cup.

Batting first, South Africa started cautiously as they lost their opener Quinton de Kock (5 off 8 balls) early in the innings. Hashim Amla (55 off 83 balls) and Faf Du Plessis (23 off 35 balls) built a 50-run partnership before the latter was castled by Lockie Ferguson.

Aiden Markram (38 off 55 balls), Rassie van der Dussen (67 off 64 balls) and David Miller (36 off 37 balls) made handy contributions towards the end which gave South Africa a competitive total of 241.

Chasing 242 to win, New Zealand too lost their opener Colin Munro (9 off 5 balls) early in the innings. In came the skipper Kane Williamson, who played a wonderful knock (106 off 138 balls) which helped his team get to the finish line.

Williamson built a 60-run partnership with Martin Guptill (35 off 59 balls). But an unlucky hit-wicket meant the opener had to make his way back to the pavilion. He slipped and disturbed the stumps while taking off for a single off Andile Phehlukwayo, ending his innings in bizarre fashion.

Chris Morris then struck twice in consecutive overs to send back Ross Taylor (1 off 2 balls) and Tom Latham (1 off 4 balls), which made the game hang in a pendulum. But the cool-headed Williamson put together another 57-run partnership with James Neesham (23 off 34 balls), and finally combined brilliantly with Colin de Grandhomme to calm the nerves in the Kiwi camp.

De Grandhomme started hitting the ball well right from the word go. His contribution of 60 from 47 balls was invaluable in their chase.

That said, it wasn't a chanceless innings by Williamson. He gave many opportunities to the South Africans, which went unutilised by the fielders. A dropped catch and a run-out opportunity missed by David Miller were the primary mistakes among those.

Aside from that, there was a complete brain-fade moment from the South Africans, which was possibly the biggest reason why they lost the match. During the 38th over of the innings bowled by Imran Tahir, Williamson played at a slower tossed up delivery and missed. Tahir felt an edge and appealed, but none of the others - not even the wicket-keeper - were interested.

It was shocking how De Kock missed the sound despite standing so close to the batsman. As the replays showed, there was a definite nick by Williamson, and if the South Africans had asked for DRS they would've been granted the all-important wicket.

Instead, Williamson was allowed to go scot-free and he batted till the end, finishing off the chase with a six and four off the last over of Phehlukwayo.

If DRS had been taken for that catch, Williamson would have walked back to the pavilion early and the entire result of the match might have turned upside down. But not for the first time in the history of the World Cup, South Africa dug their own grave.

Also read – World cup tied matches

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Edited by Musab Abid
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