Crucial win for New Zealand

The Kiwis took full advantage of winning the toss and sending South Africa in to bat on an overcast day. The conditions helped its seam bowlers to the hilt.

New Zealand cruised to a five-wicket win over South Africa in its Super Eight match at the Grenada National Stadium.

"We were desperate to get to the semis," said New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming. "Now we can move forward."

New Zealand bounced back from its defeat against Sri Lanka two days earlier by restricting South Africa to 193 for seven and then reaching the target with 10 balls to spare.

Fleming and Scott Styris both made half-centuries.

"We corrected some mistakes and did it very well. We learnt a lot from the last game," said Fleming.

"We've had one or two bad performances. Losing to Bangladesh was a big loss for us and it could still come down to bite us," said South Africa vice-captain Jacques Kallis.

New Zealand took full advantage of winning the toss and sending South Africa in to bat on an overcast day in conditions, which helped its seam bowlers.

"There was good assistance in the first 15-20 overs and we made good use of it," said Fleming. "Winning the toss was a big advantage for us."

South Africa made a bad start, losing its first two wickets for three runs, and never recovered despite a restrained innings of 60 by Herschelle Gibbs, who shared stands of 49 with Kallis (22) and 76 with Ashwell Prince (37).

The tone was set by New Zealand opening bowlers James Franklin and Shane Bond, who both took an early wicket and were mainly responsible for South Africa scoring only 13 runs in the first 12 overs.

Bond finished with two for 26 in 10 overs, while left-armer Franklin took one for 16 in seven.

Medium-pacer Craig McMillan was the most successful bowler, however, taking three for 23.

He took the key wicket of Gibbs, who was bowled by a ball which deflected off an inside edge and his right thigh and followed up by dismissing Prince and Mark Boucher, both caught in the deep as they tried to lift the scoring rate.

New Zealand slipped to 42 for two before Fleming (50) and Styris (56) put on 78 for the third wicket.

South Africa put down three catches during the stand.

Styris, New Zealand's leading run-scorer at the World Cup, was dropped on four by Ashwell Prince at midwicket off Andre Nel. Fleming was dropped twice, on 24 by wicketkeeper Boucher off Nel and on 36 by Gibbs at backward point off Kallis.

Fleming finally fell to a good catch by Boucher, standing up to Shaun Pollock, after facing 84 balls and hitting six fours.

McMillan joined Styris and batted aggressively to remove any anxiety from the New Zealand dressing room before Styris fell to left-arm spinner Robin Peterson with 18 still needed.

Styris faced 84 balls and hit four fours. KALLIS BLAMES CONDITIONS

South Africa's vice-captain Jacques Kallis blamed the unpredictable Caribbean weather for his team's defeat by New Zealand.

Kallis felt the result was almost a forgone conclusion when New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming won the toss and opted to field after early showers and overcast skies made the batting conditions challenging in the morning.

"It's frustrating when the conditions play such a big role in the game, the toss was vital," Kallis told a news conference.

"In the first 20 overs it was a green Test wicket and the guys did well to stick in there as well as we did and get a total we could bowl at."

The cloud cover dissipated and circumstances were better for batting during New Zealand's innings.

However, South Africa did not help its cause by dropping four catches.

"Who knows, if we had hung on to one or two chances maybe we could have been in a different position," Kallis said.

"Credit needs to be given to the bowlers for putting in a performance like that on what was a different wicket in the afternoon." Kallis brushed off suggestions that the team was inconsistent even though South Africa had scored its highest World Cup tally — 356 for four against West Indies — at the same venue just four days ago.

"Not at all, I think it's inconsistency in the wicket," he said in reply to a question. "There's no way we would have got 350 on that wicket this morning.

"If we had managed to sneak in another 10 or 15 runs it might have made it more difficult for New Zealand and anyway it did go down to the last few overs."

The Scores

Super Eight: New Zealand v South Africa. New Zealand won by five wickets.

South Africa: G. Smith c Oram b Bond 1; A. B. De Villiers lbw b Franklin 0; J. Kallis c Bond b Vettori 22; H. Gibbs b McMillan 60; A. Prince c Patel b McMillan 37; M. Boucher c Fulton b McMillan 16; S. Pollock (not out) 21; A. Hall c Oram b Bond 17; R. Peterson (not out) 8; Extras (lb-3, w-7, nb-1) 11. Total (for seven wkts., in 50 overs) 193.

Fall of wkts: 1-3, 2-3, 3-52, 4-128, 5-143, 6-149, 7-181.

New Zealand bowling: Franklin 7-2-16-1; Bond 10-1- 26-2; Oram 5-2-23-0; Patel 10-1-36-0; Vettori 10-0-50-1; Styris 3-0-16-0; McMillan 5- 0-23-3.

New Zealand: P. Fulton c Hall b Ntini 16; S. Fleming c Boucher b Pollock 50; R. Taylor lbw b Nel 10; S. Styris c Gibbs b Peterson 56; C. McMillan (not out) 38; J. Oram b Nel 10; B. McCullum (not out) 4; Extras (lb-3, w-8, nb-1) 12. Total (for five wkts., in 48.2 overs) 196.

Fall of wkts: 1-25, 2-42, 3-120, 4-176, 5-192.

South Africa bowling: Pollock 10-0-30-1; Ntini 10- 0-42-1; Nel 9.2-0-33-2; Hall 8-0-32-0; Kallis 4-0-17-0; Peterson 7-0-39-1.