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South Africa scrape home
23 Nov 2007
By: Paul Wood

South Africa made very heavy work of their chase after doing well in restricting New Zealand to 129-7 off their allocation in an action packed evening at the New Wanderers Stadium.

The home side appeared intent on entertaining the crowd (which is, however, what Twenty20 is supposed to be all about) rather than working the ball into the gaps and making easy work of what should have been a comfortable chase.

There were a number of specialists called in to both sides to cover for the resting and injured players.

Graeme Smith decided that his side would take to the field first off, and the recalled Shaun Pollock made early inroads removing both Brendon McCullum and Jamie How.

New Zealand were unable to build any substantial partnerships throughout the whole of their innings, losing wickets at regular intervals.

Scott Styris worked hard for his 30 runs, but it was Kyle Mills that produced the fireworks at the end of the innings with two well executed sixes down the ground and finishing on 33 not out.

Dale Steyn continued his excellent form and spinner Johan Botha was exceedingly economical, where Twenty20 is concerned, yet it was the experience of Pollock that produced the best results, his figures were 3-28 off his four overs.

The South African seamers managed to get enough movement throughout the 20 overs, yet with the decent bounce and pace in the track (that New Zealand failed to counter), it was expected to be straight forward for the home team.

Jacques Kallis, currently in excellent form in the longest version of the game, was appearing in his only third Twenty20 international and was promoted to open the innings with the struggling Smith.

Both were removed in the opening five overs, Kallis was taken a little by surprise by Mark Gillespie's sharp short ball and hooked to fine leg, while Smith nibbled at one from Mills that was caught by keeper McCullum.

Gillespie was excellent in his opening spell, bowling in excess of 140kmh, skidding the ball on and in very good areas.

JP Duminy and AB De Villiers then combined for the joint highest partnership of the game with a stand of 31 (Mills and Gillespie also shared the same). Duminy showed flashes of his potential and it is no wonder Mickey Arthur is so excited at his young prosoect. He seemed to target the midwicket area and he struck the ball beautifully through this region.

Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori outfoxed Duminy with a clever piece of bowling to bring the New Zealanders back into the contest.

South Africa then gifted a number of wickets as they attempted to finish the game well within the 20 over restriction.

It was the cool head of De Villiers that saw them home, making 52 not out off 45 balls. Despite not being allowed room to play his slashing cut shots, he was imperious on the pull. One in particular from the bowling of Michael Mason that flew a number of rows back in the stand behind midwicket.

With seven needed as they entered the final over, Vernon Philander was run out, and it was Johan Botha that struck the winning runs with a four flicked off his legs.

Same old story for New Zealand with the top order once again disappointing and not getting enough runs on the board to give their bowlers a real chance, despite their best efforts.

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