Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Proteas make hard work of win

CLOSE CALL A.B. de Villiers hit the only half-century as South Africa made hard work of their reply before tailender Johan Botha sealed the win with just one ball to spare

AFP , JOHANNESBURG

Shaun Pollock took three wickets on his return to international cricket as South Africa beat New Zealand by three wickets in a Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

Veteran all-rounder Pollock, who was not selected for the Test series against the Black Caps, took three for 28 as New Zealand struggled to 129 for seven in their 20 overs.

A.B. de Villiers hit the only half-century of the match as South Africa made hard work of their reply before tailender Johan Botha hit a boundary off Kyle Mills to seal victory with one ball to spare.

De Villiers finished with 52 not out off 45 balls but South Africa got into a tangle against some accurate bowling by New Zealand spinners Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel towards the end of the match.

Pollock was quickly into the action after South Africa sent New Zealand in to bat. He took the first two wickets of Brendon McCullum and Jamie How and followed up by dismissing New Zealand captain Vettori in his second spell.

McCullum hooked a short ball for six in the third over but then slammed a fierce drive straight to J.P. Duminy at cover off the next delivery.

Scott Styris was the only New Zealand top order batsman to prosper, making 30 off 27 balls before being caught at mid-off by South African captain Graeme Smith off fast bowler Dale Steyn, who was selected for his 20-overs international debut after taking 20 wickets in two matches in the Test series.

All-rounder Mills gave the New Zealand innings some late sparkle with a hard-hit unbeaten 33 off 24 balls which included two straight sixes off Charl Langeveldt in the last three overs.

Jacques Kallis, who was controversially left out of South Africa's team for the World Twenty20 in September, returned to the South African team and opened the batting but made only four before being caught at fine leg.

Left-hander Duminy made a fluent 33 and South Africa seemed on course for an easy win before Duminy was deceived by Vettori and stumped by McCullum.

De Villiers survived a dropped catch by Mills at long-off against Vettori when he had five and the lapse proved very costly for the tourists.

New Zealand were without all-rounder Jacob Oram and fast bowler Chris Martin who were recovering from injury and illness respectively. It is hoped both will be fit for a three-match one day international series starting in Durban today.

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