New Delhi - New Zealand posted a fine 4-2 victory against South Africa in a keenly-fought Pool B match of the Commonwealth Games men's hockey tournament here on Wednesday.
The Black Sticks snatched the early initiative by hammering in two goals inside the first 10 minutes through Hayden Shaw and captain Phil Burrows at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.
South Africa fought back with striker Lloyd Jones-Norris scoring a field goal in the 15th minute for a 2-1 scoreline.
New Zealand, the world number seven, made it 3-1 just one minute later when 20-year-old forward Stephen Jenness scored a field goal while Nick Wilson netted one in four minutes from half-time.
The second-half saw South Africa make some attacking moves into the New Zealand circle and their efforts paid dividends when Justin Reid-Ross converted a penalty in the 64th minute.
But an alert New Zealand defence denied them further success.
South Africa, who won 4-1 against Canada, have three points from two outings while the Black Sticks have six from as many matches.
"Our first-half performance was pretty good," said New Zealand mid-fielder Simon Child, who had missed out on the World Cup played at the same venue earlier this year.
"The second-half was less pleasant. Their strikers put pressure on us and we conceded a late goal. But overall we defended well."
South African goalkeeper Brendon Botes gave full credit to New Zealand for winning the contest.
"We believed this was a game which we could win," he said. "All credit to New Zealand for the way they played. They did not get many opportunities but scored off the few that came their way. I think that made the difference.
"We made mistakes that proved very costly. It is very frustrating not to score off penalties. We will now try to perform better in our remaining matches and make it to the semis."