Proteas to defend their semi-final score

The Proteas have put on an entertaining first innings posting. Photo by The Citizen.

Eden Park in Auckland has been the setting for many dramatic sporting clashes. Among those most exciting encounters will be the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final bout between yet-unbeaten New Zealand and the Proteas.

Missed chances, big hits, tight lines and rain – this match has it all so far.

The Proteas won the toss and elected to bat first, with Hashim Amla’s wicket first to fall within the first three overs. He scored 10 runs in 14 balls.

Quinton de Kock (14 off 17) was the next scalp for the Black Caps, after his lofted drive caught an edge and went down the throat of Tim Southee.

The tense atmosphere continued to build for the next few overs. The Black Caps created a number of chances throughout the Proteas innings, both Rilee Rossouw and Faf du Plessis working hard to weather the storm.

In the 27th over, this pressure paid dividends. With Corey Anderson into the attack, Rossouw edged the ball to Martin Guptill at backward point, departing for 39 off 53 balls.

However, this opened the door for AB de Villiers.

Together with du Plessis, who would go on to make 82 runs, the Proteas rallied and began to put the screws onto the New Zealand bowling attack. AB’s fifty, conversely, came off just 33 balls.

Then the rains came down – after some time off the pitch, officials ruled the match would be reduced to 43 overs each innings. The break in play was unsettling for du Plessis, who lost his wicket within the first few balls.

With David Miller and AB (who had his eye in), the scoreboard was suddenly ticking over at a rapid pace through some lusty blows from both men. Miller missed his half century by a single run, with only a handful of balls remaining.

After the 43 overs concluded, the Proteas ended on 281 for the loss of five wickets, at a rate of a shade over eight per over. AB boasted a knock of 65 off 45 deliveries.

The Black Caps have since taken to the crease, with captain Brendon McCullum in fantastic nick, making quick-fire 50. On the opposite end is the double-centurion from the last quarter-final, Martin Guptill.

New Zealand is scoring at more than 11 runs per over.

Who do you think will go through to the finals? Leave your comments below.

Bruce Douglas

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