KARACHI: New Zealand have only once managed to reach the World Cup final at the expense of South Africa against whom they enjoy a clear-cut advantage with five wins out of seven fixtures these teams have played in the history of the mega event.
The last time they met the Proteas left the Eden Park in Auckland smarting after the Black Caps sealed a sensational win in the semi-final during the 2015 World Cup.
South Africa posted 281-5 — after the match had by curtailed by rain to 43 overs — after late onslaught from captain A.B. de Villiers (unbeaten 65 off 45 balls) and David Miller (49 from just 18 balls).
Under the Duckworth-Lewis method of calculations, New Zealand were chasing 298 and chased they did as Grant Elliott played the innings of his life to carry his adopted country to victory against the country of his birth. The Johannesburg-born right-hander struck a half-fit Dale Steyn for a six on the penultimate ball of a pulsating encounter while ending on 84 off 73 deliveries and New Zealand 299-6 after putting on 103 with Corey Anderson (58).
The first time New Zealand faced South Africa was during the 1992 World Cup as the co-hosts eased to a seven-wicket win on the back of a first-wicket stand of 114 between Mark Greatbatch and Rod Latham — father of current New Zealand wicket-keeper Tom — after Peter Kirsten had scored a fighting 90 in South Africa’s modest tally of 190-7 in their 50 overs.
South Africa won the pool fixture of the 1996 World Cup at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad after restricting New Zealand to 177-9. Skipper Hansie Cronje led the chase with a breezy 64-ball 78 as the Proteas got home with more than 12 overs to spare.
The Cronje-led side emerged victorious once again during the Super Six game at Edgbaston — the venue of Wednesday’s match in this World Cup — by 74 runs after Gary Kirsten (82) and Herschelle Gibbs (91) had set a solid platform in partnership of 176 for the first wicket to help their post 287-5 in 50 overs.
Jacques Kallis, the greatest all-rounder in South African cricket, starred with a 36-ball 53 not out and an economical six-over spell of 2-15.
Gibbs played a stupendous knock of 143 off 141 balls to lift South Africa to 306-6 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg during the 2003 tournament, while thinking they had done enough to wrap up the match.
But the spirited New Zealanders made the revised target of 226 from 39 overs look ridiculous after rain had interrupted play thanks to Stephen Fleming’s inspirational innings of 134 from 132 balls which contained 21 boundaries as the skipper shared an unbroken partnership of 140 with Nathan Astle (54).
Four year on New Zealand maintained their winning run as they won a low-scoring Super Eights clash at the National Cricket Stadium in St George’s, Grenada with Craig McMillan (3-23 and 38 not out) taking the man-of-the-match honours.
South Africa’s aspirations of qualifying for the last-four stage of the 2011 were dashed by another efficient teamwork from the Black Caps. The quarter-final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka saw New Zealand inched their way to 221-8 after being 130-2 when Jesse Ryder (83) and Ross Taylor (43) had built a partnership of 114.
South Africa’s reply started well but sudden capitulation saw them lose the last seven wickets in the space of 51 runs and straight on the homeward flight as the gentle seamers of all-rounder Jacob Oram (4-39 in nine overs) led New Zealand to a 49-run triumph.
Feb 29, 1992 — Auckland, New Zealand won by seven wickets
Feb 20, 1996 — Faisalabad, South Africa won by five wickets
June 10, 1999 — Edgbaston, South Africa won by 74 runs
Feb 16, 2003 — Johannesburg, New Zealand won by nine wickets
April 14, 2007 — St George’s, New Zealand won by five wickets
March 25, 2011 — Dhaka, New Zealand won by 49 runs
March 24, 2015 — Auckland, New Zealand won by four wickets (D/L Method).
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019