New Zealand took a massive step towards the semi-finals as they beat South Africa in a final over thriller that all but ended the latter’s slim chances of making it to the last four. Here are our talking points from the game at Edgbaston, which was also the venue for that epic SF involving the Proteas two decades ago!
The Williamson dismissal that wasn’t reviewed
In Imran Tahir’s last over, with New Zealand at 173/5 in the 38th over, Kane Williamson was beaten as he attempted to glide the ball. Tahir had half an appeal on his lips, as he always does, but more importantly, Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock did not appeal. Replays showed that Williamson had edged the ball and if South Africa had opted for DRS, they would’ve had the Kiwi skipper out at a crucial period in the game.
The Proteas missed more chances (run-outs and dropped catches among them), but this is the one they’ll rue the most. Faf du Plessis did not enjoy the luck of his his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch, whose last second DRS review got rid of Wahab Riaz at a crucial stage in their game against Pakistan. In fact, Du Plessis wasn’t even aware that Williamson would’ve been out until Pommie Mbangwa told him in the post match presentation!
Andile Phehlukwayo chooses the wrong time to have an off day
Over the last couple of seasons, Andile Phehlukwayo has been one of South Africa’s most consistent performers in this format and has rightly established himself as the Proteas No.1 all rounder. Unfortunately the Dolphins star had a bad day at the office- a five ball duck and 1/73 in 8.3 on a day when all his fellow bowlers went for under 5 an over.
Did Du Plessis err by not giving Aiden Markram a bowl?
Andile Phehlukwayo didn’t have a great day with the ball, but despite knowing Colin de Grandhomme’s struggles against spin, Faf du Plessis choose not to go to Aiden Markram for an over or two in the middle. De Grandhomme was cautious against Imran Tahir, and it would’ve been interesting to see him take on Markram with the run rate steadily rising. Perhaps a day when Du Plessis needed JP Duminy in the side- clearly didn’t feel confident enough to ask Markram to roll his arm over despite Phehlukwayo’s struggles.
South Africa’s 90’s style batting hurts them
South Africa were uber cautious with the bat- the first ten overs yielded just forty runs; the next ten only 33. They showed great respect to De Grandhomme, whose slow medium pace yielded returns of 1/33 from his quota of ten- absolutely fantastic returns for a fifth bowler in this age!
Amla took nearly fourteen overs for his half century, but having made it, didn’t kick on. Makram hit four nice boundaries, but threw his wicket away after getting in. Rassie van der Dussen was the only player to strike at greater than a run a ball. Another twenty or thirty runs might have swung the game South Africa’s way, given the strength of their bowling, but their batting again proved to be their undoing.
Colin de Grandhomme the latest Black Caps all-rounder to enjoy success against South Africa
In 2011, it was Jacob Oram, with his catch of Kallis and figures of 4/39. In 2015, it was the Johannesburg born Grant Elliott, who broke Proteas hearts with that six into the Eden Park crowd. And this time around, it was the turn of Colin de Grandhomme, who had represented Zimbabwe at the U19 World Cup in 2004, to stamp his mark. CdG was miserly with the ball and was the difference with the bat (60 off 47). If not for Williamson’s two fantastic shots under pressure at the end, De Grandhomme might have well walked away with the Man of the Match award.
South Africa are still mathematically in it, but the Black Caps have effectively end the Proteas’ World Cup hopes for the third time in a row.