New Zealand cruise into semifinals
by AFP

Ground:Queen's Park (New), St George's
Scorecard:New Zealand v South Africa
Player:CD McMillan
Event:ICC World Cup 2006/07

DateLine: 14th April 2007


New Zealand made certain of their place in the World Cup semifinals when they cruised to a five-wicket win over South Africa in their Super Eights match at the Grenada National Stadium Saturday.


"We were desperate to get to the semis," said New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming. "Now we can move forward."


New Zealand bounced back from their defeat against Sri Lanka two days earlier by restricting South Africa to 193 for seven and then reaching the target with ten balls to spare.


Fleming and Scott Styris both made half-centuries.


"We corrected some mistakes and did it very well. We learnt a lot from the last game," said Fleming.


The result left South Africa needing to beat England in their final Super Eights match in Barbados Tuesday to qualify for the semifinals. It also meant that Sri Lanka, already with eight points, qualified for the last four.


But South Africa vice-captain Jacques Kallis said his team remained confident.


"England was always a must-win game, so in a way it's not a major thing losing today. It all boils down to England now. It's basically a quarterfinal for us and our fate is still in our hands which is a positive thing.


"We've had one or two bad performances. Losing to Bangladesh was a big loss for us and it could still come down to bite us. But if we can put in three big performances we can still end up with the World Cup in our hands."


New Zealand took full advantage of winning the toss and sending South Africa in to bat on an overcast day in conditions which helped their seam bowlers.


"There was good assistance in the first 15-20 overs and we made good use of it," said Fleming. "Winning the toss was a big advantage for us."


Kallis said the conditions were disappointing.


"It's frustrating when conditions play such a big role. The toss was vital. For the first 20 overs it was like a green Test wicket," he said.


"The guys did well to stick in there and give us a total we could bowl at. The bowlers did a fantastic job. If we had hung on to one or two chances it could have been different. Credit must be given to the bowlers for coming out on a different wicket and putting in a performance like that."


South Africa made a bad start, losing their first two wickets for three runs, and never recovered despite a restrained innings of 60 by Herschelle Gibbs, who shared stands of 49 with Kallis (22) and 76 with Ashwell Prince (37).


The tone was set by New Zealand opening bowlers James Franklin and Shane Bond, who both took an early wicket and were mainly responsible for South Africa scoring only 13 runs in the first 12 overs.


Bond finished with two for 26 in ten overs, while left-armer Franklin took one for 16 in seven.


Medium-pacer Craig McMillan was the most successful bowler, however, taking three for 23.


He took the key wicket of Gibbs, who was bowled by a ball which deflected off an inside edge and his right thigh and followed up by dismissing Prince and Mark Boucher, both caught in the deep as they tried to lift the scoring rate.


New Zealand slipped to 42 for two before Fleming (50) and Styris (56) put on 78 for the third wicket.


South Africa put down three catches during the stand.


Styris, New Zealand's leading run-scorer at the World Cup, was dropped on four by Ashwell Prince at midwicket off Andre Nel. Fleming was dropped twice, on 24 by wicketkeeper Boucher off Nel and on 36 by Gibbs at backward point off Kallis.


Fleming finally fell to a good catch by Boucher, standing up to Shaun Pollock, after facing 84 balls and hitting six fours.


McMillan joined Styris and batted aggressively to remove any anxiety from the New Zealand dressing room before Styris fell to left-arm spinner Robin Peterson with 18 still needed.


Styris faced 84 balls and hit four fours.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)