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Williamson leads by example as New Zealand go top of table


Match-winner: New Zealand's key batsman Kane Williamson
Match-winner: New Zealand's key batsman Kane Williamson

By Phil Blanche

New Zealand went top of the World Cup table as a thrilling four-wicket win at Edgbaston effectively ended South Africa's interest in the tournament.

Chasing a modest 241 for victory in a 49-over contest, New Zealand were in trouble at 80 for four after opener Martin Guptill had been dismissed.

But Kane Williamson played a true captain's innings, making an unbeaten 106 from 138 balls, and crucial support from Colin De Grandhomme saw the Black Caps home with three balls to spare as they retained their unbeaten record.

It was a classy performance from Williamson, while De Grandhomme bludgeoned boundaries at the right time.

But how South Africa will curse lost opportunities. David Miller, having just been inches from catching Williamson off Imran Tahir, was unable to hold on to a catch when De Grandhomme was on 22.

Williamson should also have been run out on 77, but he went on to complete a 12th ODI hundred - levelling the scores with a six before striking the winning four off Andile Phehlukwayo.

South Africa's dream of a first World Cup win now looks over, even if progress to the last four still remains possible on paper.

In today's action, Mashrafe Mortaza will not be using Bangladesh's famous victory over Australia in Cardiff 14 years ago as a template as he looks to orchestrate a repeat result at Trent Bridge.

Bangladesh's only win against Australia in 21 one-day internationals came when they memorably chased down 250 in the Welsh capital to topple a side containing several all-time greats.

Mashrafe is the sole survivor from either side but the Bangladesh captain feels their enormous improvement since that day means drawing any comparison between then and now is redundant.

Mashrafe said: "It's a really nice memory, I can tell you about everything what we did on that particular day and night.

"Obviously that Australia (in 2005) was very strong. It's a long time - 14 years - and it was in this country.

"It's a new day, a new match. I hope the same will happen (today) but for that, we have to play hard and at our best."

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