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South Africa v New Zealand
Grenada, 14 April 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog



Stephen Fleming celebrates with Craig McMillan
Fleming marshalled his troops expertly again in Grenada

Stephen Fleming said winning the toss "helped a lot" in New Zealand's five-wicket win over South Africa which confirmed a World Cup semi-final spot.

The Black Caps skipper said: "We got good use of the conditions first up.

"Shane Bond led the way, James Franklin helped set up the day and the slow bowlers also did a good job.

"In the last game we made mistakes but got everything right today. We had to use the conditions well and getting those two early wickets was crucial."

Fleming also paid tribute to Man of the Match Craig McMillan.

The veteran middle-order batsman hit an unbeaten 38 but his three wickets - as he dismissed Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher - were even more important.

"He has the ability to grab a wicket out of nowhere in different styles," said Fleming.

Flem generally gives me pretty short notice if he wants me to bowl, and it's usually just to try to get one wicket

Man-of-the-match Craig McMillan

"There are a few subtleties in there that did the trick."

The Black Caps skipper defended a dour approach to the run chase, which saw his team score the winning runs in the 49th over, despite chasing a modest target of 194.

"Always getting across the line against South Africa has been tough for us. We wanted to make sure we did it the hard way and grind it out. We knew if we could just bat out 45 overs we would be close to winning," he said.

Fleming admitted that having reached the semi-finals, the pressure would now be on his team to raise their game - and they have the perfect opportunity to do so when they play Australia in their final Super 8 game on Friday.

He ruled out any possibility of key players being rested for the semi-final.

"We did a lot of that before the World Cup. That only thing that would sway me is if someone is carrying an injury," Fleming said.

"It's always easy to get up for Australia games because they are so important to us.

"It's good we're playing them last and it's important that you chill out for a few days and reflect on what you've done and then rebuild again. If you stay too intense for too long, you're going to burn out," he added.



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