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ICC World Cup 2019: Captain's Knock from Williamson Steers New Zealand Past Sloppy South Africa

Cricketnext Staff |June 20, 2019, 3:17 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019: Captain's Knock from Williamson Steers New Zealand Past Sloppy South Africa

Lockie Ferguson and Colin de Grandhomme were fast and furious in different departments, but it was the class of Kane Williamson that stood head and shoulders above the rest in the all-important encounter between New Zealand and South Africa on a tricky Birmingham surface on Wednesday (June 19).

The 28-year-old scored 106* off 138 deliveries to help his team come out on top in a nail-biting affair. With this four-wicket defeat, South Africa are now almost out of the 2019 World Cup.

Opting to bowl, a disciplined effort from their bowlers helped New Zealand restrict South Africa to a modest 241/6. After the match was reduced to 49 overs per side because of a soggy outfield, opener Hashim Amla (55) and Rassie van der Dussen (67*) crafted half-centuries to lend some respectability to the South Africa total.

Ferguson was the pick of the bowlers, returning with figures of 3 for 59 from his 10 overs. He received good support from Trent Boult, de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner, who bagged a wicket each, while Matt Henry was economical too.

It was van der Dussen's fireworks towards the final moments of the innings which propelled South Africa to a fighting total. His 64-ball knock was laced with two boundaries and three sixes. Meanwhile, Amla took 83 balls for his 55, hitting four boundaries in the process.

In response, Chris Morris (3 for 49) bowled his heart out before Williamson and de Grandhomme (47-ball 60) added 91 runs for the sixth wicket. South African bowlers however kept fighting and took the battle to the final over where the genius of Williamson prevailed. The Black Caps captain brought up his 12th ODI hundred and got his team over the line with three deliveries to spare.

Earlier, South Africa were off to a poor start as they lost opener Quinton de Kock (5) cheaply in the second over, castled by Boult while attempting an on-drive.

Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis (23) then shared a 50-run partnership for the second wicket, as South Africa went past the 50-run mark in the 13th over. However, just when the partnership seemed to be developing, Ferguson came with the breakthrough, dismissing du Plessis with a gem of a yorker to reduce South Africa to 59 for 2.

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During his innings, Amla became the fourth South African player to reach 8,000 runs in ODIs. He is the second-fastest player (176 innings) from any side to reach the milestone after India's Virat Kohli (175 innings). Aiden Markram (38) then joined Amla and the two added 52 runs for the third wicket before Santner packed back the latter in the 28th over after a good length delivery turned sharply to dislodge Amla's off-stump.

25 runs later, de Grandhomme too joined the party as he accounted for the wicket of Makram in the 33rd over. Van der Dussen and David Miller (36) then stabilized the innings as their slow 72-run stand took South Africa past the 200-run mark in the 45th over. However, the slow partnership hurt South Africa's chances of posting a big total.

Miller in particular struggled to get going and just when he was starting to play some big shots, he handed a catch to Boult off Ferguson, leaving his team at 208 for 5. The Proteas then lost incoming batsman Andile Phehlukwayo for a duck but a couple of lusty blows from van der Dussen towards the end took South Africa to a fighting total. They could have ended up with much more if the top-order would have shown slightly more intent.

South Africa needed early wickets and they got one from Kagiso Rabada who removed Colin Munro (9) in the first delivery of the third over. Both Rabada and Lungi Ngidi bowled with great control in the first few overs and didn't allow Martin Guptill to run away with the game.

Guptill finally managed to break the shackles in the eighth over when he slammed Ngidi for three boundaries. The required run rate was never an issue and Guptill and Williamson added 60 runs for the second wicket. Just when everything was going smooth for New Zealand, Guptill slipped while playing a pull shot and took down the stumps with his back leg. He scored 35 before being hit wicket.

That's when Morris took over and had both Ross Taylor and Tom Latham caught behind to reduce New Zealand to 80 for 4. Williamson however stood tall at the other end and played risk-free cricket to keep the scoreboard ticking. He added 57 runs with James Neesham (23) and just when the partnership was starting to look dangerous, Morris returned to get rid of the latter in the 33rd over.

Regular wickets and South African bowlers kept the pressure on Williamson and that's when de Grandhomme walked in and started attacking. The all-rounder announced his arrival by slamming for Morris for a boundary and then smoked a couple of sixes in the next few overs to take the pressure off Williamson's shoulders.

Needing 59 in the last 10 overs, Williamson survived a couple of close calls but the skipper along with de Grandhomme batted smartly and went after South Africa's weakest link in the bowling department - Phehlukwayo. In the process, de Grandhomme brought up his second ODI fifty.

South Africa were shambolic on the field and that didn't help their cause either. With 14 required in the final two overs, de Grandhomme mistimed one towards long off where du Plessis completed the catch to keep South Africa in the game. Williamson however spoiled what would have been a superb penultimate over by guiding one past short third man for a boundary.

New Zealand needed eight runs in the last over, and the genius, Williamson smoked the second delivery over deep mid-wicket to complete his century and offer South Africa a yet another disappointment.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more