South Africa back in Champions Trophy contention
South Africa bounced back into contention for ICC Champions Trophy glory with a five-wicket triumph over New Zealand at SuperSport Park on Thursday.
Upset by Sri Lanka in the opening match of the ODI tournament two days ago, the Proteas had to win and did so with relative ease before a large, holiday crowd.
New Zealand were all out for 214 in 47.5 overs and South Africa cruised to 5-217 in 41.1 overs and another win Sunday over England would virtually assure the hosts of a place in the knockout phase.
The Black Caps, who may have erred in excluding Jeetan Patel for a match on a spin-friendly pitch, face Sri Lanka and England at the Wanderers stadium and a couple of victories would bring them back into the frame.
AB de Villiers was a fitting matchwinner, sealing success with a four having top scored for the Proteas with an unbeaten 70 in 76 balls, including nine boundaries.
Once again South Africa skipper Smith won the toss and once again he opted to field on a dry, slow, uneven early season track that gave the spinners assistance in warm, partly cloudy conditions.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori stressed the need to build partnerships, but his plea fell largely on deaf ears with the 71-run stand between Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott a notable exception.
The stubborn 95-ball stand ended when South Africa-born Elliott chose the wrong line and his middle stump was pushed back by a deceptive delivery from spinner Roelof van der Merwe.
Taylor was the top Kiwi scorer with 72 off 106 balls before missing a low full toss and being trapped leg before by revitalised Wayne Parnell, who was voted man of the match.
Opener Brendon McCullum was the only other New Zealand batsman to make an impact, scoring 44 before trying a sweep off Johan Botha and getting a top edge to JP Duminy at short fine leg.
Parnell, rebounding from a nighmare outing against Sri Lanka, finished with five wickets, impressive Van der Merwe and speedster Dale Steyn claimed two apiece and Botha one.
Set a 4.30-runs-an-over target, Smith managed just seven before departing because he played a Daryl Tuffey too early and Vettori took a simple catch at mid-on.
Jacques Kallis was next to go, adding 52 runs for the second wicket with Hisham Amla before an attempted drive off Shane Bond was snapped up by wicketkeeper McCullum.
Although ahead on run rate, South Africa were also struggling to build big partnerships and much-improved Amla returned to the pavilion having made 38 after being trapped leg before by Vettori.
Duminy did not last long, scoring just 11 off 13 balls before becoming the victim of a spectacular McCullum catch after trying a cut that took a bottom edge.© AAP 2013
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