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Cricket news - World Cup Head to Head: New Zealand vs South Africa

New Zealand have a big lead over South Africa in World Cups

29th February, 1992: Red-hot Greatchbatch sinks South Africa

It was South Africa's first World Cup after readmission and as a result, the first clash between these two sides in the showpiece event's history. The home conditions gave New Zealand the advantage in this encounter and they were helped further by South Africa's decision to bat first on a surface that wasn't exactly straightforward for batting. New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe marshalled his bowling unit that was tailor-made for slow and sticky surfaces. His decision to open with a spinner from one end was a tactic that was extremely far-sighted, when you realise that it's the modern trend. For the Proteas, Peter Kirsten waged a lone battle and with some contributions from Dave Richardson and Brian McMillan, gave some respectability to the total.

New Zealand's openers Mark Greatbatch and Rod Latham then made short work of the run chase with the former in particular, wading into the bowlers during the fielding restrictions in a Man of the Match performance. That tactic to go hard at the top was another revolutionary method implemented by Crowe and the New Zealand management. The opening partnership virtually sealed the game and the rest of the formalities were completed with more than 15 overs left.

20th February, 1996: Attacking Cronje seals easy win for South Africa

This was the period when South Africa were gaining momentum and staking a claim to be one of the top sides in international cricket. Therefore, the gulf between them and New Zealand was wider, and reflected in this encounter as well. In many ways, it was a mirror image to the 1992 bout between the two sides, except that the result was in favour of the Proteas. With the tournament being played on the dry, rough pitches of the sub-continent, New Zealand's decision to bat first didn't seem surprising but against a probing South African bowling attack, they failed to apply themselves. There were several starts but none of the batsmen carried on to make a significant score.

Even the total they eventually reached was due to the grit shown by the eighth wicket pair of skipper Lee Germon and Shane Thomson. For South Africa, Allan Donald led the charge and his spell was instrumental in pegging the New Zealand back. In response to a small target, South Africa were composed and clinical, led by a sparkling fifty from captain Hansie Cronje who had promoted himself to number three to take charge of the run chase. As they neared the target, there was a mini-collapse of sorts but by then, the game was already in the bag for South Africa. Cronje was adjudged the Man of the Match for his well-paced innings.

10th June, 1999: Gibbs leads convincing South African win

Another duel that was considerably one-sided in favour of South Africa who were by now a dominant force in international cricket and also a top favourite to lift the World Cup. With the openers Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs making merry at the top, the Proteas got a lovely foundation from where to launch and the finishing touches were provided by Jacques Kallis and Hansie Cronje. The latter in particular was merciless in the death overs as he produced a blitzkrieg to push the total past the daunting 285-run-mark.

For New Zealand to stand a chance, they too needed a solid start upfront but that wasn't to be. Kallis, who handed the new ball duties, got rid of the both openers in a miserly opening spell that squeezed the life out of New Zealand's batting. Skipper Stephen Fleming along with Roger Twose did try to repair the damage but their team were always playing catch up in the run chase. After a point, the only intent from New Zealand was to bat the allotted 50 overs and limit the margin of defeat with an eye on the net run rate. For his all-round heroics, Kallis was awarded the Man of the Match.

16th Feb, 2003: Fiery Fleming puts rain and Gibbs to shade

In many ways, this game was the turning point for New Zealand in their World Cup rivalry against South Africa. It needed something special for New Zealand to turn things around after the disappointing losses in 1996 and 1999. With Herschelle Gibbs stroking a big hundred at the top of the order, South Africa ended up posting a 300-plus total which certainly did threaten to bat New Zealand out of the match. There was some help for the pacers, particularly with the new ball and the Black Caps needed something extraordinary to make a match out of this, let alone chase it down.

Skipper Stephen Fleming then produced a knock for the ages, a fantastic century that completely overshadowed Gibbs's heroics earlier in the game. The New Zealand captain put up an exhibition of fluid strokeplay spread with eye-catching shots to bring up a century at breakneck pace. Such was the audacity and control of Fleming's knock that the Proteas simply had no answers. His opening partner Craig McMillan and then Nathan Astle also chipped in with useful contributions but were playing second fiddle to their captain who was just unstoppable that night. Rain intervened later in the second innings and New Zealand eventually gunned down their revised target quite comfortably. Fleming was the obvious choice for Man of the Match .

14th April, 2007: All-round McMillan secures easy win

A terrific all-round performance from Craig McMillan gave New Zealand a reasonably convincing victory in this fixture. The win in this World Cup as well as in 2003 were extremely laudable achievements, given the potency of the South African limited-overs side. On a slow and two-paced surface, none of Graeme Smith's men bar Herschelle Gibbs applied themselves with judicious shot selection. McMillan with his brand of medium pace exploited the sluggish surface fully, ending with three scalps to his name. Shane Bond was the other chief architect of the disciplined bowling performance that restricted South Africa to a below-par total.

The tricky surface meant that New Zealand had to be careful in their run chase and the responsibility was once again taken upfront by Stephen Fleming who anchored the chase along with Scott Styris. The duo's 78-run stand calmed the nerves in the Black Caps dressing room and although South Africa pulled things back with a few wickets towards the end, McMillan performed his role of a finisher brilliantly, ensuring that there were no hiccups in the final march to victory. New Zealand eventually got across the line with 10 deliveries to spare and McMillan was awarded the Man of the Match for his all-round prowess.

25th March, 2011: Faf runs out best friend, Oram dumps them out

This was the first time that the two sides clashed in a knockout game of the World Cup. Given the sub-continental conditions in the 2011 edition, New Zealand had a marginal advantage with their bowling style and the adaptability of their batsmen. Therefore, South Africa were always going to struggle if a slow turning surface came up and that's precisely what happened in the quarter-final encounter. New Zealand were also fortunate to win the toss on a pitch that was expected to get slower and deteriorate as the match progressed. They didn't start well though as they lost their openers cheaply but a well-crafted partnership of 114 between Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor bailed them out of the woods.

Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir bowled superbly in the middle overs to help South Africa claw their way back into the contest but a young Kane Williamson, playing his first World Cup, showed great temperament to produce a vital cameo that helped his side to get past the 220-run mark, that was an extremely competitive zone, considering the nature of the pitch. In reply, South Africa seemed to have paced their chase well at one point with Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers working the ball around. And then, like it happens with South Africa often, the implosion started. Kallis and JP Duminy fell in quick succession to give New Zealand momentum before Faf du Plessis shockingly ran out de Villiers to totally turn the game on its head. South Africa never recovered and Jacob Oram dealt vital blows in his 4-fer tally to seal a comfortable win for New Zealand. He was awarded Man of the Match for brilliant spell in the middle overs. For the record, South Africa lost their last eight wickets for just 64 runs.

24th March, 2015: Elliot special breaks Protean hearts

This game is not only the greatest New Zealand-South Africa ODI of all time but also is right up there among the best World Cup matches ever. The drama, twists and turns, coupled with the nerve-wracking finish in the final over, still lingers in our minds. It was also another heartbreak for South Africa in a World Cup. They had done most things right at one point with Faf du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw laying the foundation for the AB de Villiers assault that had just begun to shred the New Zealand bowling unit to pieces. At that very moment, the rain gods intervened and South Africa who were pacing themselves for a 50-over innings, had to do it for seven overs lesser. Upon resumption, de Villiers also lost his timing a bit but David Miller tore into the bowling attack to produce an explosive cameo that gave South Africa a competitive total.

It was a good batting surface though and given New Zealand's approach especially at the top, they weren't out of it. Skipper Brendon McCullum went bonkers during the fielding restrictions as the Black Caps went at over 11 rpo during the first six overs. The asking rate was considerably lowered but wickets at regular intervals allowed South Africa to get back into the game. That's when two of New Zealand's unexpected men rose to the occasion. Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson were men of potential but not really expected to produce the kind of knocks that they did that night. Their century partnership brought another twist in the game and just when New Zealand seemed to be cruising, Anderson fell and that left everything on Elliott's shoulders. The South African-born held his nerve and composure to ensure a brilliant finish in the final over against his country of birth, leaving Dale Steyn and South Africa heartbroken. Not surprisingly, Elliott was adjudged Man of the Match.

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