Both teams were trying to avoid Australia in the next phase ,and South Africa's victory means it is the Kiwis who now have Australia blocking their path to the final. Those two sides meet today.
The South Africans, absent from the competition since 1967, entered the tournament unseeded and it was only because of this that such a key match took place at this stage of the competition.
South Africa made a rapid start, taking a 4-1 lead as an edgy New Zealand team just failed to hold their interceptions. But the Kiwis regained their composure and put the match back on an even keel to finish the first quarter 17-16 ahead.
The second quarter proved just as close with the South African goal-shooter, Irene Van Dyck, missing little. But New Zealand still held a narrow 32- 31 lead at the interval.
In the third quarter, South Africa edged ahead 48-42 only to see the aggressive New Zealanders pull back the deficit in the final quarter. The sides entered the final minute level at 57-57 but Van Dyck, at 6ft 4ins, proved the match-winner for South Africa. She scored all but four of her team's goals and shot two more in the final seconds to clinch a dramatic victory.Reuse content