In an incredible, nerve-jangling 49-run victory at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur (Dhaka), a vivacious New Zealand booted a high-strung South Africa out of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Friday night. A typically Kiwi scrapping batting effort to get to 221, followed up with extraordinary fielding, crunch bowling and invigorating self-belief culminated in South Africa plummeting to the dreaded choke in the crucial frontier which they have never breached. Poor running, ill-conceived shot-making and weak-kneed batting from South Africa contributed to a rash of wickets to allow New Zealand, abetted by an effervescent Jacob Oram, to do a complete volte face after the South Africans were cantering along at the 20-over stage.
In deference to the Mirpur wicket's frictional nature, both teams gathered up their spin resources, leaving out the pacer each. While South Africa left out Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell and Morne van Wyk, reinstating AB de Villiers on glove duty and brought back their primary fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, New Zealand, essaying a path not usually tread by them, brought in Luke Woodcock as a third spinner, in place of seaming all-rounder James Franklin. On a pitch garnished with a smattering of grass that New Zealand Captain Daniel Vettori felt was merely of â€œaesthetic valueâ€, the Black Caps chose to bat first. It was a good toss to win given the cracks, which were expected to break up as the day progressed, that adorned the surface.