Cricket: Lift-off at last for Kiwis

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New Zealand gave their battered morale a timely lift with a 47- run victory over South Africa in their first match of the three-nation World Series competition here yesterday.

It was the first victory of the Kiwis' Australian tour, following their 2-0 loss in the Test series, and came against a South African outfit who had comfortably beaten the Australians in the opening match of the tournament earlier in the week.

Yesterday's win was based on an innings of 86 from Craig McMillan, the batting discovery of the Test series. Playing just his fifth one-day international, the 22-year-old guided his side to 224 for 6, sharing a partnership of 126 with Chris Harris for the sixth wicket when the Kiwis were struggling at 95 for 5.

After an early run rush South Africa struggled against some tight bowling and were dismissed for 177 in 47.5 overs. Shayne O'Connor, a left-arm swing bowler, took two early wickets and then Gavin Larsen, Harris and Nathan Astle applied a stranglehold. After the 30th over, South Africa needed 124 to win - the first time in the innings their run-rate required had gone past six runs per over. It kept creeping upwards, and with no South African able to break free, the game went out of their reach.