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September 18, 2009
New Zealand's Champions Trophy campaign got off to a poor start in Pretoria, where they lost their opening warm-up game by two wickets to the Warriors. After suffering consecutive defeats against Sri Lanka and India in the Compaq Cup due to batting failures, New Zealand's captain Daniel Vettori had stressed the need for partnerships. They managed one worth 95 for the second wicket between Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, with both scoring half-centuries, but the rest of the batsmen failed to build on a solid platform - New Zealand were 173 for 2 at one stage. They lost six wickets for 10 runs during a startling lower-order collapse and were dismissed for 237 in the 47th over. The Warriors' opening bowler, Juan Theron, caused most of the damage, taking 5 for 42 in 8.1 overs.
The Warriors chase also suffered from the lack of substantial partnerships but all their batsmen chipped in with useful contributions. Their top eight reached double figures with wicketkeeper Davey Jacobs leading the way with 54. While the required run-rate never got out of hand, the regular fall of wickets - Ian Butler took 4 for 53 and Daryl Tuffey claimed 3 for 49 - brought the match to a close finish. The eighth wicket fell with the Warriors needing 24 runs to win but Theron came to the rescue with 21 off 19 balls to ensure victory in the penultimate over.
Kamran Akmal hit 82 off 78 balls and Naved-ul-Hasan took 5 for 41 as Pakistan eased to a 108-run victory against Sri Lanka in Benoni. Pakistan were initially in trouble, slipping to 64 or 3, after the experienced pair of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf failed to get going. Opener Kamran revived Pakistan by continuing to score at a brisk pace, and they went on to a massive score after Misbah-ul-Haq and highly rated youngster Umar Akmal made half-centuries.
Mahela Jayawardene had called on the top order to fire last week, but it flopped in the face of a daunting target of 307. The biggest contribution from the top five was captain Kumar Sangakkara's 21, which meant Sri Lanka were struggling at 83 for 5 by the 23rd over. Chamara Kapugedera and Angelo Mathews resisted with a 102-run stand but could only bring some respectability to the margin of defeat as they couldn't keep up with the spiralling asking-rate.
South Africa laid down an early marker as they piled up 388 for 4 against West Indies at Potchefstroom. Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy all reached the 80s, while Roelef van der Merwe took four wickets. Duminy was the stand-out batsman with 80 off 49 deliveries and two of his five sixes required replacement balls. Mark Boucher also gave a reminder of his big-hitting skills by smashing 55 off 27 balls, adding 116 off 55 deliveries with Duminy.
West Indies' openers made a spirited start, putting on 80 runs by the 13th over. However the middle order caved in - with the exception of Darren Sammy who made a fighting half-century - and West Indies limped to 200 before being bowled out.
The only blot on South Africa's day was an abdominal strain to Herschelle Gibbs when he took evasive action to avoid a straight drive from Smith. Gibbs retired hurt and will have a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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