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Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 21:04 UK

South Africa edge past N Zealand

ICC World Twenty20 Group D: South Africa 128-7 (20 ovs) bt New Zealand 127-5 (20 ovs) by one run

By Jamie Lillywhite

Nathan McCullum (right) celebrates the run out of AB de Villiers

Highlights - South Africa beat Black Caps

South Africa recorded a one-run victory over New Zealand in the final match of Group D in the World Twenty20.

With both sides already through to the next phase, Jacques Kallis shared an opening stand of 49 with Graeme Smith but South Africa were limited to 128-7.

Acting captain Brendon McCullum hit six fours in his 57 off 54 balls in reply and looked to be leading his side home.

But spinner Roelof van der Merwe took 2-14, the Kiwis slipped behind and were unable to make 15 from the final over.

The South Africans have been widely tipped to lift the trophy but produced a curious batting performance having been put in on a chilly, overcast evening at the home of cricket.

However, the fact that they defended such a modest total will be noted by South Africa's rivals in the tournament.

Smith and Kallis gave them a solid start, taking 47 from the six overs of fielding restrictions.

There were two 12-run overs, Kallis backing away to slice Kyle Mills for six over point and Smith with two fours in a less than sparkling opening over from gentle slow medium pace of Brendon Diamanti.

But Kallis was run out by a superb pick up and direct hit from Brendon McCullum, deputising for the injured Daniel Vettori, and three wickets quickly fell for two runs in 13 balls.

Every time we started to put together a partnership we lost a wicket

Brendon McCullum

AB de Villiers, dropped down to six, played some exquisite strokes and revived the innings with 15 from eight balls but was dislodged by another direct hit, this time from Martin Guptill in the deep.

JP Duminy hit two late sixes, one of which went into the disco constructed for this event between the tiers near the Mound Stand at mid-wicket.

Those late runs were to prove decisive, but for much of the New Zealand innings, and certainly when Brendon McCullum was at the crease, they looked on course.

The powerful right-hander notched his fifth Twenty20 fifty and was particularly prolific backing away to hit through the off-side, but he lost partners regularly as South Africa's renowned fighting spirit came to the fore.

Ross Taylor shared 56 in 11 overs with his captain for the third wicket but injured a hamstring pushing for a second run and had to call for a runner.

He added only four singles in the next three and a half overs before he was bowled through the gate by a quicker, full ball from stocky slow left-armer Van der Merwe, leaving 47 needed from 33 balls.

Brendon McCullum
McCullum's bold hitting appeared to be leading New Zealand to victory

In his next over Van der Merwe captured the key wicket of Brendon McCullum, who was beaten in the flight and way out of his ground, allowing Mark Boucher a routine stumping.

With 10 needed from three balls, Jacob Oram sliced to long-off where Kallis almost took a spectacular catch diving forward, only to juggle and spill the ball as he rolled on the turf.

It was not significant though, as Oram could not manage a boundary from left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell's final ball and it is South Africa who take the 100% record into the Super Eight phase of the competition.

Smith was pleased to have come through the group stages undefeated but admitted: "We were probably about 20 runs short, we lost our way after about six overs and lost our intensity.

"But it was a great challenge for us before the Super Eights to have a tight game."

Brendon McCullum also lamented the fact that his team could not sustain their rhythm in the batting department.

"I thought we bowled well and our fielding was outstanding but our innings never got momentum," he said. "Every time we started to put together a partnership we lost a wicket.

"We've got some games coming up that are incredibly important for us.

"We're still a good batting unit, we know we're capable of being destructive when we're on our game and hopefully the experience from this game will leave us in good stead."

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see also
Vettori to undergo fitness test
07 Jun 09 |  Cricket
S Africa send Scots crashing out
07 Jun 09 |  Cricket
New Zealand given scare by Scots
06 Jun 09 |  Cricket

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