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

Osman Samiuddin at the Shere Bangla Stadium

March 25, 2011

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

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.

Daniel Vettori is ecstatic as New Zealand complete their comeback, New Zealand v South Africa, 3rd quarter-final, Mirpur, World Cup 2011, March 25, 2011
Daniel Vettori said it was an amazing achievement for a small country like New Zealand to have made six World cup semi-finals © AFP

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."

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

If Gibbs played as a number 7 batsman that would make a big differance and SA would have been in semis...

Posted by Steve on (March 27, 2011, 0:07 GMT)

@Binu Joseph: SA also missed Mark Boucher all tournament. With him in the team you always have a feeling that SA are never out of a match.

Well done NZ (from an Australian!) - never picked you to make it through to semis.

Posted by Mosiah on (March 26, 2011, 23:33 GMT)

all this talk about SAs balance .. was found out by having a too weak of a middle batting order and no players like klusener, boucher and albie morkel types.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 26, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

saf had a really good team but as many other saf fans,i was concerned about the long tail and lack of allrounders in lower order. And in the end,that caused the downfall. I hate this word but i must say saf really choked this time. Anyway i'll keep supporting them.

Posted by Gavin on (March 26, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

Well done NZ, you beat a superior side on the day. Good luck in the next round kiwis. Take a bow.

Posted by Sanjay on (March 26, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

Some of the SA tail panicked as Nick Knight pointed out on Sky UK such as Dale Steyn. However, the ball from Oram to dismiss Botha was a beauty: a leg cutter that left Botha playing down the wrong line. Against India, Botha played the perfect cameo.

NZ bowlers bowled according to the conditions, and the SA late middle order had no clue on this wicket. Peterson played his cut too early. These batters never got a go against Bangla a few days ago. You really had to wait, wait and wait on this wicket. A wicket which required unique batting skills, attributes that most fans don't understand esp those that flippantly conclude that Asian wickets are "roads" and easy to bat on.

The big clue for SA was Dale Steyn's 10 overs when NZ batted first. The wicket made him look like a fast-medium bowler. Given SA were to bat 2nd, their batsmen failed to adapt with the exception of Kallis, and DeVilliers.

The irony was that NZ's 4-0 defeat in Bangla earlier was the perfect preparation.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 26, 2011, 8:20 GMT)

The one problem S African cricket authorities ignore since their re-entry to world cricket is that they only beleive and prepare bouncy tracks back home, and their batsmen cant cope with other type of wickets. Especially , slow wickets where their batsmen cant chase succesfully. Playing bouncy balls is not the only way to win matches, Australia is the only country who have a mix of all types of wickets and this is why they havd dominated world cricket for that long

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 26, 2011, 8:06 GMT)

I think everyone is pointing at the Choke factor but only Vettori has got the assessment right. SA for some strange reason were a batsman short and a bowler too many. With Kallis in the side I am sure one can go with two spinners + Morkel and Styn especially as Duminy, Du Pleissis etc can bowl a bit as well. Ingram would have been perfect at 7 and who knows like Yuvraj + Raina they also could have pulled it off. When you dont have the right tools, how can you cut anything.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 26, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

For South Africa, its A for Apple, B for Ball and C for CHOKE!

Posted by Saket on (March 26, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

Looks like that South Africa has only a tail in crunch matches

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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