Cronje is too quick for Kiwis

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Cricket

New Zealand 177-9 South Africa 178-5 (South Africa win by 5 wickets)

Hansie Cronje, the South African captain, inspired his country to a comfortable five-wicket victory over New Zealand in their World Cup Group B match in Faisalabad, Pakistan yesterday.

Restricting New Zealand to 177 for 9 off 50 overs with a fine display in the field, South Africa showed early aggression with the bat to race to victory with 12.3 overs to spare.

The win, watched by a paltry crowd of just over 2,000, enabled South Africa to displace New Zealand at the top of group B. New Zealand, despite their lowly score, might have made a contest of the game had they not spilt three catches from South Africa's opening pair in the first eight overs - twice off Steve Palframan and once from Gary Kirsten.

These two used their good fortune to put on 41 in nine overs and lay the foundations, but it was an innings by Cronje, the No 3 that carried his side to their seventh successive one-day international victory.

The 26-year-old scored his 50 off 36 balls, including six fours and two sixes - the second of which brought up the half-century. It was the fastest 50 of the World Cup so far, eclipsing Chris Cairns' 37-ball effort for New Zealand against the Netherlands in Baroda, India, on Saturday.

Cronje was out in Nathan Astle's first over, caught by Stephen Fleming for 78 off 64 balls. New Zealand never recovered from a poor start to their innings. Astle was run out for one in the second over and the South African fielders managed to pull off two more with direct hits.

Allan Donald took 3 for 34 in his 10 overs but off-spinner Pat Symcox, playing his first World Cup match, was the pick of the bowlers, conceding just 25 runs off his 10 overs.

(New Zealand won toss)

NEW ZEALAND

C M Spearman c Palframan b Matthews 14

N Astle run out 1

S P Fleming b McMillan 33

R G Twose c McMillan b Pollock 13

C L Cairns b Donald 9

A C Parore run out 27

C Z Harris run out 8

S A Thomson c Cronje b Donald 28

*L Germon not out 31

G R Larsen c Cullinan b Donald 1

D K Morrison not out 5

Extras (lb5, nb2) 7

Total (for 9, 50 overs) 177

Fall: 1-7, 2-17, 3-36, 4-54, 5-85, 6-103, 7-116, 8-158, 9-165.

Bowling: Pollock 10-1-44-1; Matthews 10-2-30-1; Donald 10-0-34-3; Cronje 3-0-13-0; Symcox 10-1-25-0; McMillan 7-1-26-1.

SOUTH AFRICA

G Kirsten lbw b Harris 35

S J Palframan b Morrison 16

*W J Cronje c Fleming b Astle 78

D J Cullinan c Thomson b Astle 27

J H Kallis not out 11

J N Rhodes c & b Larsen 9

B N McMillan not out 2

Extras 0

Total (for 5, 37.3 overs) 178

Fall: 1-41, 2-87, 3-146, 4-159, 5-170.

Did not bat: S M Pollock, C R Matthews, P L Symcox, A A Donald.

Bowling: Morrison 8-0-44-1; Cairns 6-0-24-0; Larsen 8-1-41-1; Harris 4-0-25-1; Thomson 8.3-0-34-0; Astle 3-1-10-2.

Umpires: S G Randell (Aus) and S Venkataraghavan (Ind).

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