The Cricket World Cup continues to write its own intriguing narrative and after the winner of the past three World Cups was yesterday knocked out today it was New Zealand’s turn to crash the party.
Not usually thought of as one of the heavyweights of the competition, but usually there or thereabouts, Daniel Vettori’s side eased to victory after a monumental batting collapse meant opponents South Africa were skittled out for 172.
Earlier in the day the Kiwis had reached a modest total of 221 for 8 off their 50 overs, with the middle order contributing the bulk of the runs and Jess Ryder hitting a steady 83 runs in a partnership of 114 with Ross Taylor. The real fireworks started when South Africa’s inning got underway.
Captain Graeme Smith must have thought they would coast home when they were still 108-2 and had two of their most potent batsmen at the crease. How wrong he was.
Jacob Oram, who also took four wickets, caught Jacques Kallis in the deep and from then on the chasing side collapsed like a pack of cards barely registering 50 more runs.
The win means that all the pre-tournament heartache that had been present in the squad due to the Christchurch earthquake could give way to the side being named the best team in One Day International cricket for the first time ever. It would be the feel good story of the year so far and no one can deny the Black Caps would be worthy winners. The winner of England v Sri Lanka awaits them in the last four.