A sensational four-wicket burst from Mornè Morkel and a devastating display of power-hitting from Justin Kemp took South Africa to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand, a result that saw England eliminated from the tournament. Both South Africa and New Zealand will take their places in the last four if India lose to England later on Wednesday.
Kemp thumped six sixes and half a dozen fours in as brutal a display of shotmaking as you could hope to see, and his partnership of 65 with Mark Boucher transformed the game after New Zealand had grabbed three early wickets in defence of 153. In truth though, South Africa's victory was set up by their bowlers, who fought back ferociously after Brendan McCullum and Lou Vincent had given New Zealand the perfect start.
South Africa were in real strife early on with the bat, as Graeme Smith edged Shane Bond behind, and AB de Villiers followed suit with a lazy waft at Mark Gillespie. Herschelle Gibbs played a couple of handsome strokes but when Jeetan Patel took a tidy catch in the deep off Chris Martin's bowling, the scoreboard showed 45 for 3.
As is his wont, Kemp took his time to find his range, but once he did, he was unstoppable. Jacob Oram was the first to feel the heat, lofted for a huge six over long-on and then flicked through midwicket for four. There was finesse too, a cut for four off Daniel Vettori, but he was at his most intimidating when muscling the ball straight or over midwicket for sixes. Martin went for two, and even Boucher's exit, caught behind, didn't stem the momentum.
After getting to 50 in 42 balls, Kemp struck massive sixes off Oram and Vettori, before finishing the match with a mighty swing over long-on. Shaun Pollock played his part with a brisk 16, as South Africa sauntered home with five balls remaining.
They should have been chasing far more than 154 though. McCullum had exploded into life in Pollock's second over, lofting one over extra-cover for four and then sending another soaring on to the roof of the stand at midwicket. Pollock's punishment didn't end there, with his next over featuring another slog over midwicket and two thumps past mid-on. Andrè Nel, who replaced Makhaya Ntini, was much more economical, but with Vincent working the ball around cleverly and clubbing the odd four himself, New Zealand had the perfect start.
It took a superb over from Mornè Morkel to bring South Africa back into contention. McCullum's extravagant drive flew off the edge to Boucher, and four balls later, Ross Taylor's attempt at a cut also nestled in Boucher's gloves. When Johan van der Wath cleaned up Vincent going for the big heave, South Africa were right back in it.
Craig McMillan came in and lofted a huge six over cover off Vernon Philander, but with Albie Morkel showcasing his ability to bowl accurately as well, New Zealand were being reined back in. Reward for Morkel's accuracy came in the form of Scott Styris's wicket, caught in the deep by de Villiers.
McMillan, who batted beautifully for 48, hinted at a furious late inslaught, taking 24 in Albie Morkel's third over, including a massive six over midwicket, but when Mornè Morkel came back to bowl the dangerous Oram, New Zealand ran out of momentum. Albie Morkel took a stunning catch to send back Vettori and his younger brother could have had the first five-for in this format but for Billy Doctrove calling no-ball after he had bowled Gillespie. By then, New Zealand's sparkling start had long receded into the distance, leaving South Africa and Kemp to complete the formalities. They did so in some style.