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Thursday, September 24, 2009

South Africa defeat New Zealand by 5 wickets

CENTURION: AB de Villiers scored an unbeaten 70 to steer South Africa to a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Champions Trophy Group B on Thursday.

The hosts, who lost their opening match to Sri Lanka, will now go into their final group game against England on Sunday knowing that victory would almost certainly book them a place in the semi-finals.

New Zealand were sent in to bat and compiled a mediocre 214 all out built around Ross Taylor's 72 off 105 deliveries.

South Africa lost wickets regularly in reply, but De Villiers ensured that they were always ahead of the required run-rate as he breezed to 70 not out off 76 balls, including
nine boundaries.

The home side gave a much-improved bowling display on a pitch that had more of a green tinge than in the loss to Sri Lanka, with Dale Steyn (two for 32) and Jacques Kallis
particularly economical.

Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe showed that he can both contain and take wickets as he completed figures of two for 35 in 10 excellent overs.

New Zealand opening batsman Brendon McCullum scored 44, before Taylor and South African-born Grant Elliott (39) combined for a fourth-wicket stand of 71.

But the Black Caps suffered a late collapse in which they lost their last five wickets for 11 runs.

Wayne Parnell, expensive in his first two spells, returned to claim three more wickets and finish with career-best figures of five for 57.

Hashim Amla (38) and Kallis (36) put on 52 for the second wicket to keep South Africa on target after the early loss of captain Graeme Smith.

Kallis looked particularly impressive, being quick to get on the front foot as he stroked six fours off 39 deliveries, before edging a leg-cutter from Shane Bond to wicketkeeper McCullum.

The glovework of McCullum was the highlight in the field for New Zealand as he also took fine catches standing up to pace bowlers Daryl Tuffey and Kyle Mills to remove JP Duminy for 11 and Mark Boucher for 28.

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