Steyn completes great escape in Chittagong

New Zealand

South Africa may be infamous for choking at ICC events but in their second game in Chittagong they did quite the opposite by performing a Houdini-esque anti-choke heist that was the difference between being knocked out of the tournament and being right back in it.

South Africa may be infamous for choking at ICC events but in their second game in Chittagong they did quite the opposite by performing a Houdini-esque anti-choke heist that was the difference between being knocked out of the tournament and being right back in it. New Zealand fell only two runs short of their opponent's 170 in a match that could not have been more closely fought and entertaining.

JP Duminy (86 off 43 balls) was the man of the match for setting up the Proteas' tidy total but it was Dale Steyn (4 ovs. 4/17) whose big match temperament delivered the best final over that any fan could ask for as he conceded only four runs and left New Zealand agonizingly short of a total they looked certain to chase only a few overs before.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to field but SA skipper Faf du Plessis, back from injury, noted that he would have chosen to bat. New Zealand had chased well in their previous win over England and that would have been captain Brendon McCullum's logic behind his decision.

The Proteas had looked on track for a sub-par total on a good batting surface as they managed only 61/3 in the first ten overs of their innings but Duminy was sublime as he not only rescued his side from collapse but took them to an impressive score. It seemed not to phase him when he lost partners and his striking of ten fours and three sixes took him to a strike rate of exactly 2 runs per ball.

A late burst from Albie Morkel (13 off 8 balls) helped to give the innings some impetus but that short knock aside and it was Duminy who was responsible for the acceleration that resulted in 109 runs from the final ten overs. The Black Caps had bowled tight lines upfront but Duminy saw to it that non of them finished with respectable figures – it was his most impressive limited overs knock for some time.

Once again Amla (41 off 40 balls) struggled to score faster than a run a ball but on this occasion the stability he offers in an anchoring the first ten overs was vital to building a platform from which the more destructive middle order guns could fire. AB de Villiers admitted after the team's loss to Sri Lanka that SA's strategy is more of a platform building approach than an attack from the start one and while it might work for consistently achieving quite good scores, it might impend on the side's ability to make really big scores.

New Zealand started the chase with a similar level of caution and after a few overs the asking rate was well above 9 rpo but Kane Williamson (51 off 35 balls) and Ross Taylor (62 off 37 balls) quickly changed that as they attacked JP Duminy (3 ov. 0/30) and then Morne Morkel (3 ovs. 0/50). Taylor was particularly brutal on Morkel whom he hit for three consecutive sixes to get the asking rate down to 7.5 rpo with only six overs to go and seven wickets in hand.

The rest of the bowlers went were economical and Imran Tahir's 2/27 from four overs kept his side in the game through the middle of the innings. However it was Dale Steyn who went for only four runs an over and took four wickets that stole the show. Taylor needed three runs off the final ball for victory but was only able to hit the ball back to Steyn and was run out.

This tournament is not treated with the same respect as the 50 over World Cup but anyone who has been paying attention will have noticed that not only has the standard been very high but almost every match has been riveting virtually to the last ball. South Africa need to beat the Netherlands and England to be sure of a place in a semi-final in Dhaka.

<b>Nick Sadleir in Chittagong</b>

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