ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd quarter-final, World Cup 2011, Mirpur
South Africa had a long tail - Vettori
March 25, 2011
Five months on from arguably their lowest moment on the field, New Zealand returned to the Shere Bangla Stadium and pulled off what must rank as one of their finest triumphs anywhere. Before the game, Daniel Vettori had shrugged off the significance of this venue and their 4-0 series loss to Bangladesh last year, maintaining that a World Cup quarter-final against South Africa was a different ball game altogether.
A shock 49-run triumph saw New Zealand into their sixth World Cup semi-final, an "amazing achievement" Vettori said for a small cricket-playing nation. "You have to move on from those things [the 4-0 loss], otherwise you will talk about them forever. South Africa, quarter-final, completely different opposition; we had experience of the ground, which suited us well and we have a team that, when it is playing well, suits those conditions, and that is what happened today."
With South Africa cruising at 108 for 2 chasing 222, New Zealand looked out of the game for three-quarters of it. But South Africa's long tail, starting with Johan Botha at No 7, and a pitch not as easy for batting as it may have first looked, meant Vettori believed through the chase there was a chance.
The surface, and the occasion, he said, made 220-odd appear closer to 250. "We were desperate to get into that middle to lower order; that was our whole game plan, do whatever we can to get down there. It was always about getting past AB de Villiers. Their top four has proven themselves over a long, long time. They've got fantastic records, and I thought if we could break through that, particularly getting down to No. 6 and Botha at No. 7 meant they had a longish tail. The whole talk while we were out there and before the game was just to take wickets."
New Zealand will now travel to Colombo early on Saturday, where they will take on the winner of the quarter-final between Sri Lanka and England. They haven't yet gotten past the last four in five previous attempts, though. But, Vettori preferred to look at just getting there as the bigger feat.
"You can look at it as an amazing achievement for a country so small. That's a better way to look at it for a country of 4 million people, and we've made so many semi-finals. People will put a negative slant on it but I think it's a wonderful achievement for a country so small.
"It's a very happy dressing room, not only because we won a quarter-final, but because the performance we put in was very satisfying."