Captain A.B. de Villiers yesterday calmly guided his side to a tense four-wicket victory over New Zealand with one ball to spare in a rain-affected first one-day international at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand.
De Villiers scored 37 not out and ensured No. 8 batsman Andile Phehlukwayo (29) kept a cool head as the pair put on 54 runs to overwhelm the 208-run victory target and earn a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
The visitors, who had looked to be cruising to victory at 117-1 with 14 overs remaining, lost four wickets in 14 balls to slump to 126-5 before Chris Morris helped his captain to a 30-run partnership.
However, Morris fell with still plenty of work to do on a pitch that had been difficult to score from throughout the entire game.
South Africa needed 22 runs from the final two overs and scored 10 from Trent Boult in the penultimate over, which included a six from Phehlukwayo, who then repeated the dose against Tim Southee in the final over.
De Villiers then belted Southee for four off the penultimate ball to clinch the victory.
New Zealand made 207-7 in their innings after heavy rain over the past three days in Hamilton had forced a delay of more than three hours and reduced the match to 34 overs per side.
New Zealand struggled for much of their innings, particularly up front against tight bowling from Morris, who took the first four wickets as the hosts slumped to 82-4 in the 16th over.
Kane Williamson notched his 28th one-day international half-century as he took on the mantle of anchoring his side’s innings, which he did in scoring 59 of his side’s 108 runs before he was bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi.
All-rounders Jimmy Neesham (29) and Mitchell Santner (17) took their side through to 156-7, but with less than four overs remaining the hosts looked well short of a competitive target, despite the wicket proving to be difficult to score from.
However, Morris, who had figures of 4-24 from his first five overs, was then taken apart by Colin de Grandhomme (34 not out) and Southee (24 not out) in his final two.
De Grandhomme and Southee blasted 51 runs from 23 balls, including smashing 38 runs from Morris’s final 12 deliveries to blow out his figures to 4-62 from seven overs.
The second match is scheduled for Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday.
AUSTRALIA VS SRI LANKA
All-rounder Asela Gunaratne yesterday struck a superb 84 off 46 balls to inspire Sri Lanka to a dramatic two-wicket victory over Australia in the second Twenty20 international in South Geelong, Australia.
The touring side needed 48 runs off the last three overs to clinch the series and Gunaratne, who smashed five sixes and six fours, led them home.
Australia got off to a flying start, hitting 60 runs in the first six overs, and although medium-pacer Nuwan Kulasekara took four wickets, Moises Henriques made an unbeaten 56 off 37 balls to lift the hosts to a decent total of 173.
Sri Lanka stumbled early as their top order collapsed, losing five wickets for 41 runs in the first five overs.
However, a spirited 52-run partnership between Gunaratne and Chamara Kapugedera steadied the innings, before 31-year-old Gunaratne took charge to guide his side to an unlikely victory.
“Asela’s was an amazing innings,” Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga said. “We lost too many wickets early, but Asela finished the game for us. Winning in Australia is a huge achievement. This is Asela’s first tour to Australia and we are happy.”
Australia have been fielding a depleted side, with their full-strength Test squad currently in India. The third and final match of the series is to be played in Adelaide, Australia, on Wednesday.
“That was one hell of an innings,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said. “When you have a good player in good form, they hurt you.”
“Sri Lanka played very well there. Take nothing away from them. The series is gone, but hopefully we can salvage something in Adelaide,” he added.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017