Over 35 Men: New Zealand v South Africa
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The last time these two sides played (Perth, 2001), New Zealand won by 61 runs, 149 to 88. New Zealand took all fours skins for the game. However, just one day prior to that, South Africa snatched a 1 run victory from New Zealand, 110 to 109.
Many South African fans believe they are sending a much improved side from that which toured Australia in 2001. That of course remains to be seen. New Zealand on the other hand are keeping confidently quiet, and many of us have seen just what they are capable of in front of their home crowds.
We favour New Zealand to win, especially if they can attract a big and supportive crowd. Either way, this could be an absolute corker.
And it did turn out to be a corker. With both teams holding the ascendency at various times, South Africa won, scoring 101 chasing New Zealand's 74. And the big and supportive crowd? Well, there certainly was a lot of support for the home team, but the South African Under 19 Girls provided sustained and very vocal support for their Mens side, adding hugely to the atmosphere. Well done girls.
We also saw some entertaining byplay between Mark Cini of NZ and Steve Morris of SA. Those who know either or both these great players may be a little surprised to know the little exchanges ended in a Steve giving both the NZ batsmen a huge, smiling hug. You probably had to be there, but we thought it was great.
New Zealand opened with Jolley and Morgan. Scores of 8, 11, 1 (off Martindale) and 11 saw a solid 31 run start.
Kinsella and Baker followed, and began with 4 off Gardiner (one runout). 8, then minus 4 off Forbes and minus 1 off Gardiner saw them struggle to a skin of 7.
Erikson and Bunny were next, beginning with a maiden off Steyn, 11, minus 1 off Forbes, and then 9 for a skin of 19. After 12 overs New Zealand had just 57 on the board.
The last pair of Cini and Marsh added a bit of spice to the proceedings, especially Cini's interactions with Morris. It ended with Morris giving both batsmen a hug, and probably a bit of a dig about the dearth of bat on ball during Morris' over. The New Zealanders took 8, 8, 5 and minus 4 (off Nicholas) for a skin of 17, and a team total of 74.
South Africa opened with Forbes and Morris. Scores of 13, 6 and 9 set them up needing 4 from the last over for the skin. Eriksen bowled, gaining two catches from the over for minus 1, and a skin of 27.
Gardiner and Bussey were next. 3 wickets in Bunny's over for minus 12, and minus 2 from the next (Baker), and South Africa had slumped to 13 from 6 overs. On comparative scores, New Zealand were 30 runs ahead. 11 of the next over was followed by minus 1 off Eriksen, for a skin of minus 4. After 8 overs, South Africa were 23, and New Zealand were in with a big chance of defending their modest total.
Nicholas and Martindale had to steady the ship for South Africa, and they set about doing so immediately. Scoring 9, 14, 9 and 7, for a skin of 39, and they had batted their side back into the game.
Steyn and Scheepers finished the innings. Taking 13 of the first over they faced (Cini) put them in front, and New Zealand were playing catch-up from then on. Even though they only scored 4 and 7 off the next two overs, it was enough to put the game out of the reach of New Zealand, barring something extraordinary in the last over. But it wasn't to be, and they took 15 from it, for a skin of 39 and a winning team total of 101.