KIWIS BAT BRILLIANTLY
New Zealand versus South Africa in the third one day
Sunday, 29 October, 2000
Article: Mathew Loh
AFTER what seemed an eternity of consistent poor performances, the Black Caps top order has finally struck form to set South Africa a formidable target of 288 runs to win the third one day international in Kimberly.
After winning the toss New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming elected to bat and the feisty pairing of Wellingtonian Chris Nevin and Nathan Astle strode to the crease aiming to get the Black Caps off to a positive start.
And while Astle was bowled for 5 in the fifth over Nevin more than lived up to expectations with a scintillating knock which saw him hit nine boundaries in a wonderful innings of 68 runs in only 69 balls.
With Nevin running roughshod over South African bowlers, especially world-class paceman Alan Donald who was basically smashed out of the attack, Fleming was able to settle in at first drop to build the innings New Zealand fans have been crying out for him to deliver.
Fleming, in-form is elegance personified and pundits all agree he has the talent to be rated among the world's elite batsmen, however, the tall left-hander has been bedeviled by inconsistency of such magnitude that some commentators were beginning to question his worth.
Those questions were answered in fine fashion with a flashing bat last night as Fleming gradually upped the tempo, as he supported Nevin, with some glorious stroke-play.
Then when Nevin was bowled by the impressive Nicly Boje Fleming assumed the role of senior partner as he and Roger Twose continued to plunder a South African attack that rated among the best in world cricket.
Such was Fleming's dominance that a century seemed imminent but it was not to be as he run out for 85 in an effort that as well as ensuring the Black Caps were powerfully placed, must surely have gone a long way to silencing his critics.
Twose continued his recent form and with Fleming gone he maintained the run-rate, - with Chris Cairns 21 and Chris Harris 11 not-out - and came agonisingly close to notching his first one day century by recording a fabulous 90 runs of 91 balls before clubbing a full toss to Shaun Pollack off the bowling of Jacques Kallis.
Nevin's wonderful opening spell and the superb stroke-play of Fleming and Twose vindicated the Kiwi skippers choice to bat first and South Africa will have to play to their world-beating best to reach the 288 required for victory.