In the first mouth watering semi-final at Auckland, South Africa, lead by Faf du Plessis’s controlled aggression and David Miller, AB de Villiers’s assault, have set a challenging target of 298 (by D/L method) for co-hosts New Zealand in order to seal a berth in the finals.
After choosing to bat first, South Africa were off to a shaky start as their openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock lost their wickets early courtesy some great bowling from Trent Boult. Matt Henry, who replaced injured seamer Adam Milne in the playing eleven, delivered a fantastic first spell as he gave away only 9 runs in 5 overs with two maidens. Rilee Rossouw and Faf du Plessis found it difficult to score but they soaked up the pressure added 83 runs in 19 overs before Rossouw, who was playing well for his 39, got out on the bowling of Corey Anderson. AB de Villiers came in at number five and started to break the shackles and alongwith du Plessis, he specifically targeted Henry and hit 31 runs in his next spell of 3 overs. Both du Plessis and de Villiers were going well before rain-interrupted in the 38th over of their innings. After losing one and a half hours of play, the game got reduced to 43 overs. As the play resumed, du Plessis, who was playing well on 82, became Anderson’s second victim. David Miller then launched the attack on New Zealand bowlers and scored 49 off just 18 balls. de Villiers, who remained unbeaten on 65 off just 45 balls, played just five balls after the rain-interruption.
But New Zealand managed to chase down the target by 4 wickets with just a ball to spare. Grant Elliott’s unbeaten 84, Brendon McCullum’s quickfire 56 and Corey Anderson’s 58 propelled the hosts home.