At Edgbaston, South Africa-New Zealand games at World Cups generally equal a great game of cricket. That is exactly what happened on the 19th June, 2019.
The last time these two teams met at the World Cup, it turned out to be an all-time classic.
Today was another tight tussle between South Africa and New Zealand with New Zealand getting over the line thanks to a masterful ton by captain Kane Williamson and a brilliant 60-odd by all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
New Zealand won three games and had one no result heading into the game. South Africa lost three games, won one game and had one no result.
South Africa needed to win this game to keep their World Cup finals hopes alive.
Both sides lost one over off their innings due to the wet weather conditions that Birmingham and most of England were experiencing for the last week or so.
South Africa got off to an ordinary start as star wicketkeeper batsman Quinton De Cock scored five off nine balls before he was bowled by a beauty from Trent Boult.
In fact, the first three wickets of the South Africa innings were superb deliveries. The yorker that Lockie Ferguson bowled to South African captain Faf du Plessis for 23 form 35 deliveries was perfectly executed.
However, the delivery that left-arm orthodox spinner bowled to get rid of Hashim Amla for 55 runs off 83 deliveries was an absolute peach.
The ball pitched around middle and leg stump. It moved and bounced, beating Amla and hitting the top of off stump.
It was one beautiful delivery. South Africa did lose wickets at fairly regular intervals throughout their innings but a good half-century from the skilful middle order bat, Rassie van der Dussen who scored 67 off 64 deliveries smacking three sixes and hitting two fours.
Aiden Markram and David Miller contributed 38 and 36 respectively to the total. South Africa scored 241/6 in their 49 overs. They scored 43 runs off their last five overs.
The star with the ball for New Zealand was Lockie Ferguson who took his World Cup wicket tally to 11 wickets from the four games that he has played.
Matthew Henry did not pick up any wickets but he bowled an economical spell of fast bowling conceding only 34 runs off his ten overs.
Henry bowled two maidens and after the seventh over of his spell, he only conceded 19 runs. At the interval, top scorer and middle order bat, Rassie Van der Dussen mentioned the pitch being a bit tricky and sticky.
Van der Dussen mentioned the pitch wasn’t that easy to bat on. At the half-way mark, New Zealand were favourites but it is a World Cup and anything can happen.
New Zealand lost explosive but inconsistent Colin Munro in the third over of the innings to Kagiso Rabada.
Rabada cramped Munro who edged a ball into the air back to the bowler for the first wicket of the innings.
Kane Williamson built a good partnership of 60 runs with opener Martin Guptill. Guptill looked good before he got out hit wicket to all-Rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo.
New Zealand lost two more wickets for eight runs in the space of three overs with Ross Taylor and Tom Latham departing cheaply to some great bowling by pace bowler Chris Morris.
Williamson stitched two vital partnerships of 57 and 91 with Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme respectively.
Colin ‘Dutchy’ de Grandhomme played a gem of an innings smacking 60 off 47 balls before holding out to Faf du Plessis on the boundary.
Within the 91-run partnership, South Africa had six chances to pick up a vital wicket.
Two tough drops by David Miller off the bowling of leggie Imran Tahir, two run out chances missed, a missed catch on the boundary rope which could have got rid of Colin de Grandhomme.
So did a DRS review which was not taken by Quinton de Cock and Imran Tahir of the centurion, Kane Williamson of Imran Tahir’s last over.
Those were the six moments, if South Africa took them, that would have saved South Africa’s World Cup campaign.
New Zealand had to get 12 off seven balls before Kane Williamson elegantly guided an off cutter by Lungi Ngidi for four.
Next over Mitchel Santner took a single of the first ball leaving New Zealand seven runs to win off five balls.
Kane Williamson spanked a six off the fifth ball of the over to bring up his first World Cup hundred, 12th overall and his third in England.
In the innings, Kane achieved the milestones of reaching 1000 ODI runs in England in 17 innings and 3000 ODI runs as ODI captain in 69 matches.
In regards to the latter, Williamson is the third fastest to reach the milestone after Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. It was a man of the match effort from the Kiwi captain and he was humble as ever during the match presentation.
New Zealand goes to the top of the table and South Africa are pretty much out of the tournament unless some results go their way. It has been a disappointing tournament for the South Africans and they failed to take one of those vital six chances during the New Zealand innings.
New Zealand plays their next game against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Saturday, whereas the South Africans play Pakistan on Sunday at Lord’s.