South Africa’s hopes of reaching to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-finals took another shattering blow when they suffered a four-wicket loss against New Zealand in Birmingham on Tuesday.
Kane Williamson scored an unbeaten 106 as Black Caps reached their victory target of 242 with three balls to spare, putting it a step closer to the final four.
The Proteas would have had Williamson caught behind if they had reviewed when the Kiwi skipper got a faint edge on Imran Tahir’s final delivery in the 38th over. Kane was batting on 76 at that moment.
Despite Tahir’s pleas, South African captain Faf du Plessis decided not to review the decision, later explaining that he trusted wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock’s judgement.
“We weren’t aware of it. I think I was at long on at the time, and Quinny is the closest to the action. He’s always my go-to man. I just thought it was a plain miss. I just heard about it now at the post-match that he had a nick on it,” du Plessis told a news conference.
It wasn’t South Africa’s only blunder in the field.
One run later, Williamson should have been run out, only for an errant throw seeing David Miller knock off the bails without a ball in his hand. Another shot went just wide of Miller close to the wicket, and on 91, Williamson nearly offered a return catch to a diving Lungi Ngidi.
Add in a few misfields in key situations, and another tough chance spilled by Miller off the bat of Colin de Grandhomme, and it meant that the Black Caps were able to manoeuvre their way into a position where Williamson could finish the game off, blasting a six then a four off Andile Phehlukwayo.
However, du Plessis preferred to focus on the half-chances and a slightly below-par batting display, rather than the missed review on Williamson.
“That’s not where the game was won and lost. We, I think were 20 runs short, and then we had one or two really, really tough half chances. If it was a perfect game, you know, we took that [review] and Kane was out, the game would have been really tight.
“But for me, that’s not the difference today.”