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South Africa thrash New Zealand to top points table in race for semifinals

South Africa have continued their march towards the semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 with a 190-run win over fellow contenders New Zealand at Pune’s MCA Stadium.

Helped by centuries from Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen, the Proteas posted 357-4 after being asked to bat first by New Zealand stand-in captain Tom Latham on Wednesday.

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Keshav Maharaj took four wickets, Marco Jansen took three and Gerald Coetzee took two as South Africa recorded their sixth win of the tournament to dislodge India from the top of the points table on their net run rate.

In a highly anticipated contest days after the two nations clashed in the Rugby World Cup final, de Kock struck 114 and van der Dussen exploded late to score 133.

“Clinical display I would say,” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said.

“With the bat, we handled the challenge up front and with the ball nipping around. The big partnership really set it up for the boys.

“With the ball, we sustained the pressure throughout their innings. … Quite clinical with the execution of our skills.”

The Proteas built on the de Kock and van der Dussen 200-run stand with 119 in the last 10 overs as David Miller put the New Zealand bowlers to the sword with a 30-ball 53.

“We were speaking about 300 to 320 at one stage in the middle, but we’ve seen so often in the last 12 to 18 months what the guys coming in can do,” player of the match van der Dussen said.

“We knew if we could set a platform again for them, I mean the sky’s the limit. We [almost] got to 360, so we were pretty chuffed about that.”

Kiwi Tim Southee dismissed van der Dussen on a day of little joy for New Zealand, who had lost the bowling services of seamer Matt Henry due to a right hamstring problem midway through South Africa’s innings.

Neesham was struck on the hand while stopping a ball off his own bowling and was able to bat only at number nine although he did not suffer broken bones.

“Not our best performance,” Latham said.

“We were put under pressure with that massive partnership Rassie and Quinton had up top.

“At the halfway mark it was a big score but a decent surface. From a batting point of view, you need partnerships. To be three, four, five down early and with our backs against the wall, we weren’t able to build those partnerships.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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