Cricket World Cup 2015

5 moments that cost the Proteas

2015-03-24 12:01
AB de Villiers (Gallo)

Cape Town - South Africa were eliminated at the semi-final stage after losing by 4 wickets to New Zealand at Eden Park.

Here are Sport24's FIVE moments that changed the course of the match:

1. The rain came down

With AB de Villers and Faf Du Plessis at the crease and seemingly set to post New Zealand a target in excess of 320, the widely-anticipated rain came down in Auckland.

As a result, the match was reduced to 43 overs-a-side whilst also severely denting AB's de Villier's momentum at the crease. Granted David Miller played an absolute gem of a knock (49 runs off 18 balls), AB by contrast scored just 7 runs in the final 5 overs. 

2. Poor fielding

With the match having swung in New Zealand's favour, AB de Villiers - a usually spectacular fielder - was handed a difficult chance to run out Corey Anderson just before the batting powerplay. The throw from the point region, from Rilee Rossouw, was received at speed, just short of De Villiers at the base of the stumps. The Proteas' captain failed to gather and once he knocked over the stumps without the ball in hand, the crucial chance was gone and spelt the beginning of the end for the South African team's CWC journey.

Other key fielding errors:

Quinton De Kock failed to collect a throw from Rilee Rossouw which would've removed Daniel Vettori. This was the easiest chance of those not taken and will leave a scar on the team for years to come, a team that prides themselves on excellent fielding.

JP Duminy dived in the way to prevent Farhaan Behardien taking a catch off the final ball of the second last over. These two combined for a missed chance similar in proportion to the Lance Klusener and Allan Donald's run out mix-up that cost South Africa a place in the 1999 Cricket World Cup final. It was Behardien's catch to take, one can only sit back and wonder what Duminy was thinking at that fateful moment.

3. The problem of pace

In short, our pace bowlers - historically South Africa's strength - were off-colour as Brendan McCullum hit them out of their rhythm.

Dale Steyn, who struggled with a hamstring injury, went for over 8.5 runs to the over while Vernon Philander was guilty of bowling at least one bad delivery an over (his economy rate was over 6.50).

Morne Morkel picked up three wickets but also went for over 6 runs an over. He was the pick of the bunch alongside Imran Tahir - who bowled brilliantly again today.

The decision to leave Kyle Abbott, who had a tremendous tournament in Philander's absence, will remain a mystery. 

4. McCullum's belligerence

Brendon McCullum was superb today. In the field, he kept the pressure on throughout the innings - only relinquishing the momentum once David Miller walked to the wicket. Witnessing four slips in a semi-final match will long be remembered by those who were diligent enough to wake up and witness the start of the Proteas innings. 

McCullum took to the crease and duly flayed the South African attack to all parts of Eden Park. His innings of 59 off 26 didn't win the game but it did send NZ on their path to victory.

5. New Zealand ended their semi-final hoodoo

New Zealand, cheered on by a jubilant home crowd, kept their nerve to see off South Africa and win their first ever World Cup semi-final, their first in seven attempts. A collective team effort ensure that the Black Caps progressed to their first ever final.

Despite missing several chances in the field, the Kiwis batsmen kept their nerve to seal a famous win though Trent Boult and Tim Southee must take some credit as they set the tone for the win.

The irony of South African-born Grant Elliot taking home the man of the match award (84 off 73) will not be lost on the nation's cricket fans.

Follow Sport24's Wade Pretorius on Twitter: @wadepretorius


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