ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

New Zealand v South Africa, World Cup 2011, Mirpur

The partnership that made the difference

Between overs 7 and 33, New Zealand scored 114 and lost only one wicket, while South Africa's middle order collapsed during that period

S Rajesh

March 25, 2011

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After 24 overs, New Zealand were 88 for 2. At the same stage of their innings, South Africa were 108 for 2. The equation at that stage of the chase read: 114 runs required in 156 balls, eight wickets in hand, an asking rate of 4.38 runs per over, and two well-set and extremely classy batsmen at the crease. From there, it unravelled so swiftly for South Africa that even the team would be hard-pressed to explain how it happened.

Throughout their innings, even New Zealand didn't score their runs at a particularly brisk pace: for much of the time, the run-rate was less than four runs per over - in the 23 overs between the 13th and the 35th, they scored only 92. What they did well, though, was preserve their wickets and build a significant partnership. At the time it happened, commentators and pundits were questioning the slow approach of Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor; their 114-run stand took 27 overs, and of the 162 balls bowled during the partnership, 91 were dots.

How the two teams batted between the 7th and 33rd over
Team Runs Balls Wickets Dots 1s/ 2s 4s/ 6s
New Zealand 114 162 1 91 54/ 7 8/ 1
South Africa 101 162 5 92 56/ 6 8/ 0

South Africa's stats during the corresponding period of their innings were pretty similar in most respects - the number of runs scored, dot balls, singles, twos and fours - but the one big difference was the number of wickets lost. New Zealand's only wicket during that period was Taylor's dismissal, while South Africa lost five, from where there was no comeback. After 12 overs, South Africa were 11 runs in front of New Zealand's score at the same stage, and had lost the same number of wickets; after 33, South Africa were only two runs behind, but had lost three more wickets, and were to lose more pretty quickly thereafter.

Even when they got bowled out, after 43.2 overs, South Africa were only one run behind New Zealand's score at the corresponding stage, but they'd lost five more wickets. The difference was the one batting performance - and the one big partnership - which held New Zealand's innings together. Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers threatened to replicate Ryder and Taylor's effort, but Kallis got no more than 47 compared to Ryder's 83. With no pair building partnerships after de Villiers' departure, the target became an impossible one for South Africa.

More stats

  • This is New Zealand's sixth semi-final appearance in World Cups, which equals the record held by Australia and Pakistan. They've lost all five of their previous semi-finals.

  • The 114-run stand between Ryder and Taylor is the first century stand by them in eight ODI innings. In seven previous innings they'd added only 102, with a highest of 49.

  • Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum sharing the new ball was only the fourth time two spinners have opened the bowling for a team in ODIs. Zimbabwe have done it twice, while New Zealand tried it against India when defending 103 in Chennai last year.

  • It's Jacob Oram's first haul of four or more wickets in an ODI in five and a half years. The last time he did so was in September 2005 against India, when he took 4 for 58 in Harare. (Click here for his best bowling performances.)

  • Ross Taylor became the 12th New Zealand batsman to score 3000 ODI runs. Among those 12, only Martin Crowe has a higher average than Taylor's 36.81.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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