Gibbs seals the deal
03 Dec 2007
By: Zac Gelman
South Africa comfortably beat New Zealand by five wickets at Cape Town yesterday, winning the ODI series in the process.
Set 239 to win earlier in the day, South Africa raced away in what was a dream opening partnership for the Proteas led by Herschelle Gibbs.
Gibbs let it be known he was in an attacking mood early with fours and sixes coming off his bat right from the start. Gibbs raced to his 50 in 39 balls with six fours and three sixes in a dazzling display of power hitting.
The swashbuckling and aggressive batting from Gibbs meant New Zealand never had a chance and with the batsman in this form, no ground could contain him. All the more painful from a New Zealand point of view was the fact he perhaps should have been given out LBW when he was on just four.
Gibbs notched up his 19th ODI century in just 77 deliveries including ten fours and six sixes in a brilliant and dominating display.
At the other end, his skipper Graeme Smith who was expected to miss the game due to a virus, looked all at sea, but to his credit he stayed with Gibbs and kept knowing the run rate was not going to be an issue he took his time and whilst his partner was cruising past triple figures he was able to bring up his half century a scrappy affair but fighting innings.
With the match and series well and truly over, New Zealand finally made the required breakthroughs with Smith caught on 51 off the bowling of his opposing captain Vettori at deep midwicket and Gibbs suffered a similar fate on 119, also at the hands of the Black Caps skipper.
It was more than a stumbling to the finish line as de Villiers 2 and Duminy 1 all were unable to see their side home and New Zealand were given the slightest bit for hope for an all-time great turn around victory.
That didn't happen as Boucher 26 not out and Kallis 30, both played valuable cameos in securing the match by five wickets. Kallis, much to his dismay, with two runs to go, was dismissed by Lou Vincent in his hundredth match. It was the first international wicket for Vincent, and the delight was clear on his face for all the crowd to see.
Earlier in the day, New Zealand made 238 in a stuttering innings. Styris made a valuable 60 and Sinclair a sensational 73, but the team was not able to score fast enough to post a sizeable total for the home side.
New Zealand will return home regretting missed opportunities. Coming so close in the first match only to be thwarted by Nel with the bat and romping home in the second, they had come so close to a memorable series victory but were just unable to score the runs when it mattered. The South African will breath a collective sigh of relief. They didn't play their best cricket, but were still able to come away with the win and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
New Zealand 8-238
Sinclair 73, Styris 60
Langeveldt 2-46, Steyn 2-50
South Africa 5-242
Gibbs 119, Smith 51
South Africa won by five wickets and take the three match series 2-1