Underdogs New Zealand pulled off a sensational upset in yesterday’s Quarter Final match against South Africa at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to enter into the Semis. The Black Caps won by 49 runs after giving a modest target of 222 with the Proteas choking yet again in a run chase.
Toss and Teams : New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first on a track that has been on the slower side in this tournament. Skipper Daniel Vettori returned back to the New Zealand team which was loaded heavily with spinners. Left arm spinner Luke Woodcock was given his first match of the World Cup that too in a big Quarter Final!
New Zealand Innings – Kiwis put up a modest total
The Kiwis suffered a knock out blow very early in the 3rd over when left arm spinner Robin Peterson dived full length to his left to take a return catch offered by the dangerous Brendon McCullum. Dale Steyn in the 6th over bowled a well disguised widish slower one which was miscued by Martin Guptill to leave the Kiwis pegged back at 16 for 2. SA’s plans of making some more inroads were dented by a cautious partnership between Ryder and Taylor. The duo brought some steadiness to the innings but had to step up the accelerator to increase the dull run rate. In that process, Ross Taylor perished in the 33rd over top edging a slog sweep off Imran Tahir to end a 114-run stand for the 3rd wicket. Taylor scored 43 from 72 balls with a four and a six.
Scott Styris who replaced Taylor started off in a busy fashion but got out early when he dragged an ambitious pull shot off Morkel onto his stumps. Styris lasted 17 balls to score 16 with 3 fours before getting out in the 38th over. In the very next over, Jesse Ryder played a casual slog sweep to be caught in the deep off Imran Tahir after scoring a 121-ball 83 (with 8 fours). The Kiwis now were in slight bit of trouble at 156 for 5. There wasn’t any collapse after that with Kane Williamson batting out the remaining overs to come up with 38* from 41 balls (with a four and a six).
The Kiwis finished their innings at a modest 221 for 8. Morne Morkel who started off poorly recovered well to get figures of 3 for 46 in 8 overs. Leggie Imran Tahir took 2 for 32 in 8 overs while Johan Botha gave away only 29 runs in 9 overs. Dale Steyn also bowled well taking 2 for 42 in 10 overs.
South Africa Innings – Jacob Oram stars in an upset win
In the first over itself, SA lost the wicket of Hashim Amla when his bottom edge off a cut shot rebounded from the boot of the keeper to be caught at slip! Nathan McCullumwas the lucky wicket taker on that occasion. The Proteas then got a steady partnership going between Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis until the 15th over when the former slashed Oram into the hands of point. Smith scored 28 from 34 balls while taking his team to 69 for 2. There was another good partnership which followed this time between Kallis and AB de Villiers and the Proteas were cruising along.
In the 25th over, Kallis looked all set to to pull Tim Southee out of deep mid wicket for a six but instead found the tall Jacob Oram running sideways and leaping in the end to come up with a blinder of a catch. This was a turning point of the match as the Kiwis were pumped up after this moment. Kallis walked off the park having scored 47 from 75 balls (with 3 fours) while his team was at 108 for 3. In the 28th over, left handed JP Duminy did the cardinal sin of going back in a cut shot to a full ball from Nathan McCullum which drifted in instead of turning away to cramp him and hit the off stump. Just a couple of balls after this a well set AB de Villiers paid the price for running a non-existent run after Faf du Plessis had worked Nathan McCullum to mid wicket. AB de Villiers (35 from 40 balls with 4 fours) despite being a very quick runner was comfortably run out at the batting end to leave SA wobbling at 121 for 5!
The match was firmly in the Kiwis’ grip after AB de Villiers’ exit and they ensured that SA could never get out jail. The last recognized batsman – Faf du Plessis played some good shots but to win the match from such a situation was beyond his abilities. Jacob Oram provided three killer blows which knocked out the Proteas. The finishing blow from Oram came when he had Faf du Plessis (36 from 43 balls with 3 fours and a six) driving him straight into the hands of covers in the 43rd over. South Africa was soon bowled out for 172 in 43.2 overs. Jacob Oram got the Man of the Match for his influence in the fall of six South African wickets.
New Zealand’s opponnent in the Semi Finals will be the winner of the fourth quarter final which is between Sri Lanka and England.