by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
South Africa climbed to the top of the standings with a commanding performance, defeating New Zealand by a staggering margin of 190 runs. The match featured centuries from Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen, as well as an impressive four-wicket haul by Keshav Maharaj.
New Zealand, on the other hand, faced their third consecutive defeat in the tournament, which has been marred by a series of injuries within their squad, putting their World Cup campaign in jeopardy.
The loss to Australia in Dharamsala had been disheartening, but their defeat to South Africa in Pune was outright demoralizing. The New Zealand bowlers struggled as de Kock and van der Dussen amassed centuries, and David Miller’s explosive 53 not out added more pressure. South Africa finished their innings at 357 for 4, with a remarkable 119 runs scored in the last 10 overs.
In response, New Zealand’s top order faltered against South Africa’s high-quality pace attack under the evening lights. Daryl Mitchell displayed some resilience, but his dismissal in the 19th over while attempting to take on Keshav Maharaj opened the floodgates. New Zealand’s innings crumbled, with Glenn Phillips being the only batsman to offer resistance with his 60 runs. They were eventually all out for just 167.
This defeat has significant implications for New Zealand’s World Cup campaign as they now face the risk of falling into a tight competition for the fourth-place position, with teams like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka eyeing the same spot. The manner in which New Zealand succumbed to South Africa was unexpected, given the target of 358 runs set by the South African team.
The contrasting performances of the two teams were evident. South Africa’s innings got off to a steady start, with early aggression from Temba Bavuma and later acceleration from de Kock and van der Dussen, who formed a crucial 200-run partnership. New Zealand’s bowlers struggled to contain the South African batsmen, especially after Matt Henry was forced to leave the field due to injury.
The defeat for New Zealand was a stark contrast to their earlier successes in chasing down large targets against England and Australia. However, South Africa’s formidable bowling attack proved to be too much for them on this occasion.
Despite New Zealand’s efforts to minimize the damage to their net run rate in the final stages of their innings, the magnitude of their defeat was undeniable. It was a comprehensive victory for South Africa, solidifying their position in the tournament and raising questions about New Zealand’s ability to bounce back in the competition.