De Kock, Vd Dussen Tons Overcome NZ As Proteas Continue To Soar

Quinton de Kock recorded his fourth century of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and Rassie van der Dussen struck his second as the Proteas claimed another stunning win by comfortably beating New Zealand by 190 runs in Pune on Wednesday.

The result moved South Africa back to the top of the table ahead of hosts India on net run-rate, albeit having played a game more, and took them a step closer towards the semi-finals.

In a day of records at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium, opener De Kock hit a composed 114 (116 balls, 10 fours, 3 sixes) and number three Van der Dussen crashed 133 off 118 balls (9 fours, 5 sixes). There was also a dashing 53 off 30 balls (2 fours, 4 sixes) by David Miller – the trio enabling their side to amass 357 for four after batting first.

In reply, Keshav Maharaj bagged four for 46 and the impressive Marco Jansen, now the joint leading wicket-taker, took three for 31 to blow away the Black Caps for 167 in 35.3 overs, sealing a sixth win out of seven games played so far.

It was another fine showing by Rob Walter’s side, set up by their record eighth consecutive 300-plus totals whilst batting first in One-Day International (ODI) cricket, the longest streak in history.

Along the way they took their tally of sixes in this World Cup to 82, another record mark beating the 76 sixes in 11 matches by England at the 2019 showpiece.

De Kock lead the way alongside Van der Dussen after captain Temba Bavuma fell to Trent Boult (1/49) for 24 with the score on 38 when the Proteas lost the toss and were put in to bat first. The two centurions put on exactly 200 for the second wicket to take the total to 238 in the 40th over.

Then came the explosive finish by Miller, promoted ahead of the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen who later came in to score an unbeaten 15 off seven balls to help end the innings with a flourish.

As for De Kock, his fourth ton of the tournament and 21st overall put him one behind Rohit Sharma’s record of five centuries in 2019. He also extended his lead at the top of the run charts by moving to 545 runs, which made him the first South African to score 500-plus runs at a World Cup. Jacques Kallis held the previous record of 485 in 2007.

Van der Dussen’s ton was his sixth overall and second at the 2023 World Cup.

Then with the ball, the bowlers delivered from the get-go. The in-form Jansen dismissed two of the top three in Devon Conway (2) in the third over and Rachin Ravindra (9) in the ninth to leave the New Zealanders on 45 for two.

Although Lungi Ngidi (0/28) was impressive at the other end, not allowing many freebies as the pressure built.

The set Will Young (33) was taken out by Gerald Coetzee (2/41) two overs later, and when captain Tom Latham (4) fell to the miserly Kagiso Rabada (1/16), the match looked all but over by the 16th over when the total fell to 67 for four.

The slide continued when Maharaj was introduced to the attack as the spinner ran through the middle and lower order reducing NZ to 133 for nine.

Glenn Phillips (60 off 50 balls, 4 fours, 4 sixes) frustrated the opposition briefly before finally falling after a 34-run final wicket stand, but all that did was reduce the margin of defeat in what was another statement win for South Africa.

Their next assignment is against hosts India on Sunday at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

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