South Africa set 222-run target for semis berth

Jesse Ryder of New Zealand scored a well-made 83.

By Suneer Chowdhary

Mirpur: Mar 25, 2011

South Africa had gone into their quarter-final against New Zealand at the Shere Bangla as one big favourite to win it. By the time the first innings of the game ended, there wasn t much by the way of doubting the previous statement.

New Zealand s decision to bat first was not surprising, and neither was the way they were strangulated into being restricted to 221 for 8. There were two early wickets and despite a third-wicket partnership between the Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor, the only time that they threatened to take the bowling on was also the time when they fell to the bowling of Imran Tahir.

In a move that is a reflection of changing times as it is of the kind of pitches in the tournament, both sides went into the game with three spinners. South Africa had Peterson, Botha and Tahir while New Zealand went in with Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum and Luke Woodcock.

As was expected with such a line-up, South Africa began their bowling with Peterson, who got Brendon McCullum off his seventh ball of the spell. If there was any difference between this and the dismissal of Ian Bell in the England game, I certainly hadn t noticed.

Martin Guptill battled hard in his first 13 balls for a single before trying to clobber a slower ball from Dale Steyn over mid-off. The only thing he managed was to spoon up an easy catch to the fielder and reduce New Zealand to 16 for two in six overs.

Graeme Smith s captaincy was interesting as he kept wringing in the bowling changes. Peterson had opened the innings, while Botha was brought in when Ryder came into bat.

Fortunately for the Kiwis, the pair of Taylor and Ryder prevented it from going the way in which the Pakistan-West Indies match had gone. The pair was extremely cautious and without any risk the run-rate barely moved in the direction that was required.

It took an over consisting of a six from Taylor in the 32nd for the run-rate to touch the four-run mark for the first time. However, after a period of three overs that saw 20 coming off three overs, Taylor tried to hit Tahir out of the ground only to afford a simple catch at the leg-side boundary.

23 runs later, Scott Styris 17-ball 16 was nipped in the bud by Morne Morkel before Tahir came back to send the well-set Ryder (83) back.

With Kane Williamson having set himself, the batting Powerplay was taken in the 45th over and despite 13 coming off the first one, the Kiwis could take only 37 off them. Williamson ended with an unbeaten 38 but the target may not test the South Africans too much.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 221 for 8 in 50 overs (Jesse Ryder 83, Ross Taylor 43; Morne Morkel 3 for 46, Imran Tahir 2 for 32) vs South Africa.

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)

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