Kane Williamson anchored New Zealand’s 246-run chase to perfection at Edgbaston, sealing it with some timely hits to knock South Africa out of the 2019 World Cup. Here’s Richard Whitehead’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
South Africa v New Zealand
Match 25, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
June 19, 2019
At last came the gripping finish the World Cup craved, but amid the tumult, Williamson was as cool as a hired gun. Needing 12 from seven balls, New Zealand were in danger of making a hash of the chase, while South Africa sensed a shot at redemption. But Williamson steered a surgically precise four past short third man and, having regained the strike, lofted Phehlukwayo into the Hollies Stand for the first six of a magnificent innings.
It seemed incidental that it also brought up his hundred. Next ball, he threaded another late dab between fielders to finish the job. South Africa had passed up chances to revive their car crash of a tournament.
In the 38th over – Imran Tahir’s last – Miller failed to cling on when de Grandhomme offered a difficult chance. More grievously, Tahir attracted no support when he thought Williamson, on 76, had edged to de Kock; replays showed Tahir was right. The list of gaffes grew when Miller bungled a chance to run Williamson out.
After a sodden outfield had reduced the match to 49 overs a side, South Africa batted like a team hobbled by fear. Only van der Dussen, with an unbeaten 67 off 64 balls, showed much urgency. The pitch was tricky rather than treacherous, and de Grandhomme – whose 10 overs had cost only 33 – shrewdly deployed the local knowledge gained in two spells with Warwickshire. He hit an occasionally brutal 60 off 47 balls, and added 91 with Williamson.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack