New Zealand led by Daniel Vettori caused a major upset by defeating tournament favourites South Africa by 49 runs at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur to enter into the Semi Finals! The Proteas needing a modest 222 for a victory choked yet again in the middle overs to see New Zealand pull off a victory out of nowhere. Jacob Oram had a splendid evening taking four wickets and catching two blinders to lead his side to an unexpected win. Oram was the Man of the Match and his outfield catch which saw the dismissal of a well set Kallis was the turning point of the match.
The Kiwis who won the toss and elected to bat first were pegged back straightaway losing the openers cheaply. It was a crawl from Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor after the early blows in the first two powerplays with runs hardly coming at a healthy rate. Both the talented youngster did get a steady partnership going to repair the innings. In the 33rd over, Ross Taylor (43 from 72 balls) swept Imran Tahir into the hands of deep mid wicket to end what was a 114-run stand with Ryder. The Proteas fought back after this to reduce the Kiwis to 156 for 5 in the 39th over when Jesse Ryder (83 from 121 balls) was caught playing a predetermined slog sweep.
Thanks to a neat 38* from 41 balls by the inexperienced Kane Williamson, the Kiwis finished their innings at 221 for 8. Morne Morkel who too some stick early on came up with a 3-wicket haul while Steyn and Imran Tahir took two wickets each.
South Africa in their chase had two promising partnerships at the top which were cut short just on time by the Kiwis - first was the 61 runs for the 2nd wicket between Graeme Smith (28) and Kallis and then 39 runs for the 3rd wicket between Kallis (47 from 73 balls) and AB de Villiers. The match suddenly changed in favour of the Kiwis when AB de Villiers (35) got run out while trying to take a risky run from mid wicket to a Faf du Plessis flick. The Proteas had slipped to 121 for 5 in 28 overs with none of the experienced batsmen left.
The inexperienced Faf du Plessis did whatever he could before he drove Oram into the hands of covers in the 43rd over leaving the Kiwis with just one more wicket to take. This 3rd Quarter Final was finally completed in the 44th over when Morne Morkel holed out to long off and SA got bowled out for 172. Apart from Oram, off spinner Nathan McCullum who opened the bowling also caused lot of damage taking three wickets and giving away only 29 runs in his 10 overs.
New Zealand now wait for the winner of tomorrow's quarter final match between Sri Lanka and England who will be their Semi Final opponent in Colombo on the 29th.
- BV Swagath