The Dutch displayed the never-say-die spirit yet again and made the strong New Zealand side work for their victory in the end. Netherlands put on a very creditable 151 in their 20 overs and until the 14th over of the New Zealand innings, held the advantage, as the Kiwis required more than 9 runs in each over for a win at that point. But skipper McCullum’s brilliant 45-ball 65, tilted the game in New-Zealand’s favor in the final stages. In the other match South Africa and England were involved in a close tussle, which could gone either way, if in the last over, Bopara had hit Dale Steyn’s first ball harder because later, Tim Bresnan tore Dale Steyn apart, scoring 16 in his last three deliveries. But England fell short and South Africa won by 3 runs.
Asked to bat first after losing the toss, Netherlands went about their task without bothering about the strength of their opponents. The first wicket stand produced 34 but after Myburgh and Barresi got out, Skipper Peter Borren took center stage. The industrious Borren first had Michael Swart and then Tom Cooper, with whom he built the innings at a brisk pace. While Borren got out in the 18th over for a well-made 49 off 35 balls, Cooper remained unbeaten for 40 scored off just 23. Except for Jimmy Neesham, whose 2 overs went for 9 runs, every New Zealand bowler was thrashed with Kane Williamson’s 1 over going for 17 runs. To the credit of the Dutch, they lost only 4 wickets.
When the Kiwis came on to bat, they didn’t start very briskly. Martin Guptill was kept quiet and his 9 runs were scored in 15 balls. Kane Williamson was bolder on the other end, though he too lost his wicket in the 9th over for a reasonably fast 29 off 22 balls. These dismissals and that of Ross Taylor in the 13th over put some pressure on skipper Brendon Mccullum, because New Zealand had fallen back on the rate of scoring. McCullum had no desire to face the ignominy of losing to the weakest side of the tournament and he batted with authority to strike the Dutch bowlers everywhere. In the company of Corey Anderson, McCullum forked out a 48-run partnership in 4.3 overs and though he got out in the 17th over, he had done enough to take his team to safety. Corey Anderson completed the Kiwi victory by six wickets with 6 balls still remaining. For those interested in cricket statistics, player of this match, Brendon McCullum became the first batsman to cross 2000 runs T20 matches. The second placed batsman, Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka is 600 runs behind McCullum.
In the second match, AB de Villiers had to lead the side since Faf du Plessis was serving a suspension. South Africa had a great start as openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock put on 90 runs in 10.5 overs, before Amla got out. Amla gave another proof of his prowess in 20-over formats by making 56 off 37 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes. Quinton Kock followed him soon afterwards. AB de Villiers, ever the savior, played brilliantly despite losing his openers. But when Duminy got out in a comical fashion, de Villiers had to share additional responsibility of mounting a fighting total. In a single-handed effort, de Villiers mounted an assault and blasted every English bowler with the last three overs bringing 55 runs. De Villers remained unbeaten for 65 made from just 28 balls and produced another proof of his phenomenal batting ability, whatever be the game’s format. In the end, South Africa’s 196/5 was quite challenging.
England began very well with Alex Hales and Michael Lumb putting on 46 in 4.4 overs, before Lumb fell as the first wicket. But Moeen Ali and Hales continued with brisk scoring until 7.2 overs, when Hales got out for 38 made from 22 balls. Every English batsman made some contribution and England appeared to be on course. But the drop in the rate of scoring between the 15th and 19th over was a setback for England. Imran Tahir gave away only 5 runs in the 15th over and following him up, Parnell yielded 9 in the next. Though over nos. 17 and 18 brought 10 and 11 runs, the asking rate crept going up. Therefore, at the start of the 19th England required 34 from 12 balls. With Beuran Hendricks conceding only 12 runs in the 19th, 22 were needed from Dale Steyn’s last over for victory. Steyn got rid of the dangerous Bopara off his first ball and conceded two single off the second and third deliveries. With 20 runs required now, even three sixes could not have helped England. Nevertheless, Tim Bresnan produced two sixes and one four to stun Dale steyn but South Africa went into the semifinals with this victory.
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