London, June 10: South Africa rode on some excellent bowling to clinch a one-run win over New Zealand in a thrilling Group D clash of the ICC World
Merwe Twenty20 at Lord’s.
With both teams having already qualified for the Super Eight stage, this was about keeping the momentum going and South Africa earned the bragging rights as they restricted New Zealand to 127 for five.
But things didn’t go as planned for Graeme Smith’s men as they managed just 128 for seven after they were put into bat by New Zealand stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum.
However, some excellent work in the field allowed Proteas to get even as they stifled the Kiwis, who at one stage were cruising along nicely with McCullum (57), who led the side in the absence of the injured Daniel Vettori, putting on 56 runs with Ross Taylor (22) for the third wicket.
New Zealand suffered a setback early on when they lost Martin Guptill (6) and Neil Broom (1) cheaply.
However, McCullum, who was rather cautious, managing just six boundaries in his 54-ball knock, and Taylor did a good job in repairing the innings.
Taylor fought gamely on despite suffering from a hamstring strain and needing a runner before his stumps was shattered by a RE van der Merwe delivery.
That dismissal put the brakes on New Zealand and they struggled to get going. McCullum fell trying to improve the run rate, Mark Boucher taking off the bails behind stumps from a Van der Merwe delivery.
Jacob Oram (24 off 18 balls) did his best to see the team through, but fell one run short.
Earlier, some brilliant bowling and excellent fielding helped New Zealand restrict South Africa to 128.
McCullum’s decision to field first was vindicated with the bowlers keeping the dangerous South African batsmen in check. They were aided in their cause by two brilliant run outs that got rid of Jacques Kallis (24) and later the in-form AB Villiers (15).
Kallis’ run out to a brilliant piece of fielding by McCullum put the brakes on South Africa after he and skipper Graeme Smith (33) put on 49 for the opening wicket.
Veteran Scott Styris then removed Herschelle Gibbs (3) and Ian Butler bowled Smith to put South Africa in even more trouble.
Van der Merwe (0) came and went and that brought de Villiers to the crease.
He showed his intent with a four off Mills but fell trying a non-existent second run as Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep knocked off the stumps at the non-striking end.
JP Duminy (29) hit a couple of sixes towards the end to prop up the South African innings but fell trying to hit one too many.