South Africa make it 2-0

South Africa have scored a narrow win in the 2nd ODI against New Zealand despite a courageous 90, battling cramp, by Lou Vincent. It is now very difficult, bordering on impossible, for New Zealand to win the series from here. Despite the fact that South Africa were the better side throughout the match, a couple of doubtful umpiring decisions against Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori towards the end of New Zealand’s chase could well have had an influence over the result.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, the opening partnership of Graeme Smith and debutant Andrew Puttick looked to have a bright start when Smith middled the first ball from Kyle Mills and they ran two. But in the following over, after the addition of just one run from a no-ball, Puttick was clean bowled by a perfect delivery from Shane Bond after being made quite uncomfortable at the crease by some very fast short pitched bowling.

Smith and Herschelle Gibbs looked to recover from the early setback and in the tenth over, Smith hit three fours off Bond who had up until this point been close to unplayable. The partnership reached 66 before Scott Styris struck in his comeback match, Smith bowled for 36. The following Styris over, Pollock was the second victim for Styris, caught by Adams for nought. And it became 74-4, completing a collapse from 69-1, when Gibbs was out lbw to Mills.

Two good partnerships followed that mini-collapse as Jacques Kallis, who had been lowered to four in the order due to an apparent illness, put on 56 with Ashwell Prince and 62 with Mark Boucher. Prince scored 19 in a partnership dominated by Kallis before being bowled by Vettori, who again bowled brilliantly to finish with 1-31. But then Boucher dominated the next partnership, scoring 40 before hitting a return catch to Mills to make the score 182-6, which became 188-7 when Kallis was caught by Vincent for a solid 51, Mills taking his third wicket. That became four eight runs later when Charl Langeveldt was caught by Adams for 1, Mills finishing with excellent figures of 4-44 from 10.

Shane Bond then returned to the attack and caused his second clean bowled duck of the innings, this time Makhaya Ntini was the unfortunate victim.

South Africa finished on 201-9, a score New Zealand would have seen as very chaseable indeed, but 18 of the 26 ODIs on this ground have been won by the team batting first, so South Africa too would have been confident.

The New Zealand innings didn’t start particularly well at all, Nathan Astle and Stephen Fleming both being sent back to the pavillion by Ntini inside the first six overs with the score 16-2. But the first of those two wickets brought Vincent to the crease. With the company of Styris, Vincent took the score through to 80 without further loss. But then Styris ended his run-a-ball 27 when he was caught by Justin Kemp off the bowling of Andre Nel. Craig McMillan was unable to repeat his good performance in the first game, out caught behind off Langeveldt for 3 to make the score 93-4.

The fall of Oram, caught behind off Kemp for 11, with the score at 127 was the beginning of a disastrous spell for New Zealand. Shortly afterwards McCullum was adjudged by the third umpire to be out stumped, a decision for which the benefit of the doubt could perhaps have been given to the batsman, and then Daniel Vettori was given out caught by Smith, Nico Boje the successful bowler. Unfortunately, a rather important part in being given out caught, the bat, was not involved in that piece of cricket. So without doing much wrong themselves, New Zealand were reduced from 127-5 to 137-7.

Vincent batted on despite the lack of support and comfortably reached his fifty with a collection of impressive shots. They continued until cramp paid a visit to Vincent’s leg, eventually getting so bad that a runner was required. And then it seemed to play a part in his dismissal, a weak shot in the air that was caught inside the circle by Prince, a disappointing end to a magnificent 90. When he fell the score was at 165, and only 17 runs were added before supersub James Frankin, for 21, and Adams for 6 fell to complete the innings, 182 all out and 20 short of the target.

New Zealand will be very disappointed to find themselves 2-0 down in the series after two very close matches, the same series scoreline as it would have been if the two had been 100 run or 10 wicket thrashings. Although the McCullum and Vettori decisions were doubtful and may have had an impact on the result, the fact that no batsman other than Vincent reached 90 is an important factor too. Now they have to try to do the almost impossible and win 3 in a row to win the series, no one has managed to beat South Africa once in more than ten ODIs, let alone three times. It will go down in New Zealand’s sporting history if it is done. South Africa meanwhile can celebrate their position in the series and need to win just one of the last three to complete the series win.

South Africa 201-9
Jacques Kallis 51, Mark Boucher 40
Kyle Mills 4-44, Scott Styris 2-29

New Zealand 182 all out
Lou Vincent 90, Scott Styris 27
Makhaya Ntini 3-29, Charl Langeveldt 3-35

South Africa won by 19 runs.

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Lou Vincent (90).

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