195 enough for Kiwis

On a day where the Pakistani drugs scandal dominated the Champion’s Trophy, New Zealand’s bowlers put out an exemplary performance to steer them to an 87 run win over South Africa.

Facing New Zealand’s poor total of 195, South Africa’s chase began to seem a lot harder by the 10th over. Kyle Mills made early inroads into the South African batting, starting in the first over as he trapped Boeta Dippenaar lbw. Two of South Africa’s key batsmen followed before too long, Gibbs beautifully bowled through the gate and Kallis to a spectacular caught and bowled.

The pitch was helping the bowlers more so than in New Zealand’s innings, it was extremely slow, causing miscued shots aplenty. The pitch didn’t contribute to the next wicket though, a wild and unnecessary slash from Mark Boucher was bottom edged behind to McCullum, to leave South Africa at 50-4.

South Africa still had a good chance of victory though, Graeme Smith was there and playing well, despite narrowly avoiding getting an inside edge onto his own stumps. Smith didn’t hang around for much longer though, lofting Jacob Oram straight to Vettori at mid off. Pollock soon met a similar end, spooning the same bowler to Patel at cover.

With the top order destroyed by New Zealand’s seamers, the spinners set about the lower order. Andrew Hall chipped Jeetan Patel tamely to midwicket and Robbie Peterson looped fellow slow left-armer Vettori to short leg. A quicker flatter one from Patel beat Nel all ends up, and with his next ball, which was again quick and flat, but turned more Makhaya Ntini was bowled, signaling the end of the match.

New Zealand were hugely indebted to Stephen Fleming for their total of 195. Put into bat by Graeme Smith, he scored 89, a lone effort considering the next best score was McCullum’s 21. It was an intelligent innings, considering the circumstances he was in, but there was still Fleming’s flair, and he maintained a decent scoring rate.

It was a good bowling performance by South Africa, nothing special, but they maintained line and length, and the fielders supported the bowlers well. They were also gifted some wickets by poor New Zealand batting, McCullum and Fulton both offered easy catches to mediocre deliveries, while James Franklin was bowled off his elbow attempting a pull.

South Africa’s spinners, Peterson and Smith also bowled well, though were to be outdone by the New Zealand counterparts. Fleming’s magnificent 89 came to a tame end though, flicking a poor ball from Kallis to fine leg attempting to increase the tempo in the dying overs.

It was probably fitting than Stephen Fleming’s side won the match, the one batsman that succeeded in the conditions, it would have been a shame if such a good innings did not prove to be match winning.

New Zealand 195 all out
Stephen Fleming 89
Jacques Kallis 3-28, Robin Peterson 2-34

South Africa 108 all out
Graeme Smith 42, Justin Kemp 26*
Jeetan Patel 3-11, Kyle Mills 3-18, Jacob Oram 3-26

New Zealand win by 87 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Stephen Fleming

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