World Cup 2019: Williamson steers New Zealand home in tense finish

Kane Williamson unbeaten 106 (138b 9x4, 1x6) and Colin de Grandhomme's 60 off 47 balls (5x4, 2x6) powered New Zealand to a four-wicket win over South Africa in the World Cup 2019 at Edgbaston.

Kane Williamson reached his 12th ODI century with a six over the mid-wicket off Andile Phehlukwayo in the final over.   -  Getty Images

New Zealand, riding on skipper Kane Williamson’s unbeaten century, clinched a four-wicket victory over South Africa, which was bogged down by some ordinary fielding, on Wednesday at Edgbaston.

In a game reduced to 49 overs-a-side, New Zealand restricted the Proteas to 241 for six before Williamson masterfully regulated the chase with a knock of 106 (138 balls) that was crafted with nine boundaries and a six.

New Zealand lost opener Colin Munro early in the innings. But Williamson and Martin Guptill added 60 runs for the second wicket before Guptill stepped on to his stumps while trying to deal with a delivery from Andile Phehlukwayo. 

Chris Morris, who bowled with a lot of heart, removed Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in quick succession and suddenly the Kiwis were reeling at 80 for four. Then, it was Williamson who stitched two partnerships -- 37 with Jimmy Neesham and 91 with Colin de Grandhomme -- to ensure a safe passage.

Check out the World Cup 2019 Points Table and Stats

South Africa was guilty of some amateurish fielding as David Miller dropped de Grandhomme in the 37th over. In the same over of Imran Tahir, Williamson, too, got a reprieve, as the South Africans didn’t opt for a review after a faint bottom-edge had found the gloves of wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

South Africa continued to offer its opponent more favours as Miller fluffed a run-out chance after a horrible mix-up between Williamson and de Grandhomme.

Lungi Ngidi's removing Grandhomme for 60 in the penultimate over offered South Africa some hope. But Williamson, forever calm and composed, took his team to victory. With eight needed in the final over, the captain hit Phehlukwayo for a six to complete the formalities. 

The defeat further dented South Africa’s chances of making it to the semifinals.

Read | As it Happened

Earlier, pacer Lockie Ferguson scalped three wickets as South Africa’s batsmen -- barring Hashim Amla and van der Dussen -- failed to deliver. While van der Dussen remained unbeaten on 67, Amla played a knock of 55 (83 balls) to ensure a competitive total.

Put in to bat, South Africa required a good start, but Trent Boult castled Quinton de Kock to hand the Kiwis the early advantage. Skipper Faf du Plessis (23), too, departed soon, failing to keep out a yorker from Ferguson.

Amla and Aiden Markram, who scored 38 before offering a catch to Colin Munro off Grandhomme, added 52 runs for the third wicket. In the process, Amla reached the 8,000-run mark in ODIs – the second fastest to do so.

But Amla was cleaned up by a classic left-arm delivery from Mitchell Santner and Markram, too, departed soon. However, van der Dussen, who received twin reprieves, partnered David Miller (36 off 37 balls) to add 72 runs for the fifth wicket. However, New Zealand bowlers tightened the noose, never allowing South Africa to run away with the game.