SA's World Cup hopes hanging by a thread after Kiwi klap
South Africa’s chances of staying in the running for a World Cup semi-final berth ebbed to a new low at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Slow batting on a sluggish pitch and against New Zealand’s tight bowling and tigerish fielding condemned them to a middling total of 241/6 in a match reduced to 49 overs an innings.
The Kiwis won by four wickets with three balls to spare‚ reaching 245/6 in an innings dominated by captain Kane Williamson’s undefeated 106 off 138 balls.
South Africa are still alive in the race for the semis‚ but they will have to win all of their remaining three matches and hope other results sway the equation in their favour.
That quest starts with their match against Pakistan at Lord’s on Sunday.
Rassie van der Dussen’s 64-ball 67 not out led South Africa’s challenge with the bat.
But their approach was more accurately represented by Hashim Amla‚ who faced 83 deliveries for his 55.
An outfield slowed by soaking overnight rain delayed the start by 90 minutes‚ and further retarded the scoring rate.
Even so‚ and despite the stern challenge presented by the New Zealanders‚ Amla and Faf du Plessis added 50 for the second wicket before Amla and Aiden Markram put on 52 for the third‚ and David Miller and Van der Dussen shared 72 for the fifth.
Lockie Ferguson ended two of those efforts in his haul of 3/59.
Chris Morris was South Africa’s star bowler‚ dismissing Ross Taylor‚ Tom Latham and Jimmy Neesham and claiming 3/49.
But he couldn’t get rid of Williamson‚ who shared partnerships of 60‚ 57 and 91 with Martin Guptill‚ Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme.
Imran Tahir came the closest to removing him‚ for 76‚ when replays showed he had edged the leg spinner’s last ball of the match‚ in the 38th over with the total on 173/5.
But the South Africans didn’t appeal and the Kiwis’ skipper survived to take his team home.
The win takes New Zealand‚ who along with India are the last remaining unbeaten team in the tournament‚ to the top of the standings.
They have four wins from five games‚ with the other — against second-placed India — washed out.
South Africa have only one victory — against minnows Afghanistan — from six matches‚ one of which didn’t reach a result.