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New Zealand Through to Final for First Time; Rain Plays Spoilsport For South African Squad

sportsNew Delhi, Wednesday, March 25 – New Zealand pocketed a historic win against South Africa on Tuesday. The match was witnessed by the home crowd and some other cricket fans supporting Proteas. In the first semi-finals, South African skipper AB de Villiers won the toss and made decision to bat first opposite to the Kiwis.

They felt the heat in the early hours as New Zealand delivered good balls against the rivals. In the jam-packed Eden Park, Auckland, both the teams were putting their best foot forward to emerge as a victor at the end of the day. It was difficult to comprehend for every cricket viewer to predict who will win the match and who will succumb to pressure, which was present in abundance in the field a day ago.

Despite losing Hashim Amla and wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Knock at the scores of 10 and 14, respectively, South African camp gained ground in the imperative contest thanks to confident innings by Faf du Plessis who pocketed 82 runs and imparted crucial role in taking the team’s total as up as possible. Rilee Rossouw gave a good support to his mate from the other end and contributed 39 runs in the score that consisted of a couple of boundaries and a six prior succumbing to Corey Anderson in 26.1 over.

The pace of accumulating runs sped up the moment AB de Villiers, who is widely known as the destructive hitter of the ball, came on the 22 yards pitch. He caught the eyes by playing a knock of 65 runs in 45 balls, together with 8 fours and a six. New Zealand gave the opponents a quick jolt by sending Faf du Plessis back to the dressing room.

All eyes were then struck on the new batsman David Miller, who proved his captain’s confidence in him perfectly right. Holding the fort, the 25-year-old left-handed batsman made 49 runs of just 18 balls. His dismissal in 42.2 over let Kiwis heave a sigh of relief. JP Duminy scored 8 runs in 4 balls. South African, by this time, reached to a stronger position where 350 runs could easily be put on the scoreboard. However, then came the rain, playing once again a spoilsport for the men in green shirts, who appeared to be ahead in many regards after scoring humongous 281 runs in 43 over game.

Rain affected for long, changing several equations in an important competition. New Zealand were to chase 298 runs to turn their dream of playing in the grand finale in 43 overs after Duckworth-Lewis method adjusted the final score. Despite the fact that scoring at a run rate of 6.93 per over wasn’t difficult, particularly when many players are well-versed with 20-20 format, New Zealand’s opted for attacking approach right from the beginning. They were aware of the truth that chasing the target at snail’s pace is not going to work for them and this is the reason why the Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum started to bombard runs from the very first over.

McCullum had no regret of throwing his wicket to Morne Morkel in the 7th over given that he did his bit by playing 59-run inning in 26 balls. Captain sent the ball into the fences eight times and struck 4 biggies. He gave his team a start that was required to be at the leading position. But the new batsman Kane Williamson failed to do his job properly and fell short to Morkel by attaining 6 runs of 11 balls, including a four. Ross Taylor was the new man on the crease. He kicked off well but a slight misunderstanding made Guptill, who won a number of hearts through his double ton against the West Indies in quarter-final, be the run out victim. With the help of 4 fours and a biggie, he scored 34 runs in 38 balls.

Situation of the Black Caps couldn’t be called robust at that time as three of their top-order batsmen were out. Taylor (30 runs of 39 balls) knew his mistake may possibly cost his team the match, however, tried to stay calm. Grant Elliott, on the other side of the pitch, kept on giving him the desired support. The 31-year-old Taylor’s play was finished by Duminy.

Tension was increasing slowly among both the squads. Corey Anderson got the success to exhibit superb performance. 6 fours and 2 sixes are adequate to tell how brilliantly he scored 58 runs. His wicket on the final ball of 38 over spread silence in the stadium.  Wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi’s wicket after 6 balls almost hit the final nail in the coffin for the Kiwis. Few catches were dropped and South African players missed hitting the stumps to build pressure on the rivals. Match went into an interesting stage where both teams couldn’t afford doing any mistake.

Daniel Vettori (7 runs; 4 x 1) and Grant Elliott (84 runs of 73 balls; 4 x 7 & 6 x 3) were present on the crease. Dale Steyn, one of the best bowlers in international cricket, was brought in attack. He appeared to gift his team the ticket to finale but did not succeed in accomplishing the task as batsmen were in no mood to let go the opportunity of winning at any cost. The moment Elliott went for a six, New Zealand created history. It is for the first time they entered into last round where winner of India vs. Australia match is yet to qualify. The defeat left Morkel, de Villiers and many SA players in tears. Elliott was awarded ‘man of the match’ for his stupendous show.


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