South Africa beat New Zealand by 190 runs to march at the top of CWC23 points table
New Zealand had won the toss and decided to bowl first. Temba Bavuma initiated the early aggression, taking Matt Henry for two cover drives in the fourth over to accelerate the innings. Early on, De Kock was mainly quiet and irritable.
In the ninth over, he even took a bouncer from Trent Boult to the shoulder. South Africa’s innings had hardly shifted out of second gear by that point. Boult had sent Bavuma back with a sucker ball after roughing up de Kock, a full one that had him nicking low to Mitchell at slip.
Phillips could have taken two wickets in consecutive overs for New Zealand if he had latch onto a screamer off Tim Southee at backward point.
It was only because of his brilliance—predicting de Kock’s cut and taking two steps to his right before throwing himself fully to go one-handed—that we’re even discussing it as a possibility. At that point, De Kock was on 12 off 24.
Van der Dussen, on the other side, helped himself to a pull to start the game because Southee, playing in his first World Cup match, appeared unsteady and slow to start.
In their 200-run partnership, de Kock and van der Dussen were composed and methodical for the majority of the opening 100 runs, positioning themselves to tee off in the back 15. They executed the strategy perfectly, maybe even more smoothly than they had expected given that halfway through, New Zealand had a huge hole to fill.
Halfway through his sixth over, the 27th of the innings, Henry strained his hamstring, leaving Ravindra, James Neesham, and Phillips to bowl 14.3 overs between them. De Kock and van der Dussen quickened their pace, fully aware that they would have to compensate their part-timers for their losses.
In the sixteenth over, de Kock showed his first indication of breaking free when he got trapped in Southee. He followed up a commanding pull in front of square for four with a massive six over the head of the bowler.
Shortly after, De Kock got more good fortune as he chipped Phillips into the leg side and the ball went between three fielders. Within 62 deliveries, De Kock reached his half-century, while van der Dussen reached his goal with 61 deliveries as well.
The problems facing New Zealand were far from ended. One of the part-timers called in to make up overs, Neesham, took a hit of his own when a de Kock straight drive struck him flush on the thumb.
On 95, de Kock was sent back even as the ball diverted to Mitchell Santner at cover, and he should have been run out on that same delivery. Santner attempted a throw to the bowler’s end; the batter had given up hope. However, the throw went wide of the stumps.
Quickly after, De Kock reached his century, his fourth of the World Cup, putting him one behind Rohit Sharma’s record of five in a single edition. He did this by going inside the line and helping a pull that went well over the fine leg fence for six. He scored a century off 103 balls and appeared primed for a big finish.
On the other end, the persistent van der Dussen surprised the New Zealand spinners with some adorable reverse paddles and sweeps. When de Kock gave Southee a wicket in the 40th over, the second-wicket combination had put on 200 at more than a run-a-ball. In an apparent attempt to maintain the left-right combination, South Africa made an unexpected move at this point by moving Miller up the order. He tore into the bowling at the end to reach his half-century in 29 balls. Neesham went for 69 runs in his 5.3 overs and conceded 18 in the 50th.
Despite the fact that New Zealand knew they had a massive chase ahead of them, their performance in big chases against Australia and England gave the impression that the game was still in balance. However, a South African attack that left you wondering if they had bowled on the same surface as New Zealand destroyed their aspirations.
Following the demolition of the top order, Phillips delayed the inevitable by gaining some batting time in the midst of a collapse of the lower order. By the end, New Zealand were so keen to limit the damage to their net run rate that Henry, hurt, came out to bat and shared the wicket with Phillips for 5.1 overs, adding 34 for the last wicket.
“Clinical display with bat. Handled the challenge with the ball nipping around. We applied pressure with the ball. We tried to pounce on bad balls, Quinny started slowly, hung in there and cashed in at the end. More than the score, we were trying to stay in till 30 and go big later on. We were always looking to dominate with the new ball and middle overs. Knew they’d come hard at us and we’d get opportunities. Gotta hear the permutations about making the semi. After tomorrow, it’s back to business, gotta prepare for the next game.”
“Not our best performance. We were put under massive pressure by QDK and Rassie. To be five down early was disappointing with the way it panned out. I don’t think I’d bat first had there been another chance. It was a decent surface. If we’d restricted them to 330-340 it’d have been better. We weren’t able to capitalize with bat either. Injuries are adversities, gotta see how they shape up. Small turnaround, so we gotta reflect now and move on to Bangalore.”
Rassie van der Dussen, POTM:
“They bowled well upfront. Run rate was hovering at 4 an over. We had to work hard Quinny played brilliantly and guided me. We batted together nicely, and we went big as the ball went softer. Wicket was one where if bowlers hit a length, there was something in it for them. Test match lengths were tough to manufacture shots to; we communicated that to the bowlers and, with bat, tried to push through. Quinny was reminding me to keep my shape, respect good balls. It’s tough to hit through the line right away. Miller and Co made it look easy. We were thinking about 300-320 as a score but sky is the limit with our middle order. Very pleased to win by a big margin, was an out-and-out team performance which was great.”