A Kane Williamson masterclass helped New Zealand win a thriller by 4 wickets against South Africa in Match 25 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Williamson remained unbeaten on 106* to see his team through in a last-over finish. This win ensured that the Kiwis remain unbeaten in the World Cup. Only one another side, India remain with a perfect record until now.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to field considering the amount of rain that had preceded the match. South Africa lost Quinton de Kock in the second over itself as an ill-advised shot fell victim to a superb delivery from Trent Boult. This meant that the experienced pairing of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis had to see off the new ball threat and accelerate later on.
However, things weren't straightforward as the pitch was two-paced which meant that it was difficult to bat freely. New Zealand also cleverly executed their plans and this was reflected in the way Lockie Ferguson took the wicket of du Plessis. Ferguson set up du Plessis' wicket by bowling a quick bouncer. He then followed that up with with a stunning in-swinging yorker. New Zealand produced more moments of brilliance with Mitchell Santner getting the wicket of a well-set Hashim Amla with a ripper. After that Aiden Markram quickly fell following a typically attractive start.
It was only due to Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller that South Africa accelerated during the fag end of the inning to end up with a score of 241/6 after 49 overs. (1 over reduced due to late start)
In their chase, New Zealand also struggled to get off the blocks quicky. Colin Munro lost his wicket very early on in the inning as he inside edged a short ball which rebounded off his thigh pad and Kagiso Rabada did the rest by hanging onto a dolly. Martin Guptill and Kane Willamson tried to bide their time but the former perished after scoring 39 runs by stepping onto the stumps.
An inspired spell from Chris Morris resulted in three quick wickets of Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and James Neesham. Just when one thought that South Africa were in the driver's seat, Colin de Grandhomme came in and played an aggressive inning. This relieved pressure of Williamson who was struggling to accelerate. He also was lucky to survive as South Africa gave him a lot of chances in the form of dropped catches, missed run-out and a failure to opt for DRS even though the Kiwi skipper had clearly edged a delivery off Imran Tahir. Eventually, Williamson took advantage of those chances and stayed calm to see his team home in a last-over finish.
So, let's look at how this result affected both sides in terms of the points table.
Updated Points Table
New Zealand continued their unbeaten streak and strengthened their hold over the top spot in the points table with 9 points from 5 games.
On the other hand, South Africa saw only a small change with their Net Run Rate moving from -0.208 to -0.193 after losing the game. They remain at the 8th spot.
Also read – Man of the match world cup 2019