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September 26, 2009

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De Villiers keeps the Proteas on course

AB de Villiers hit 70 not out after Wayne Parnell had taken five wickets on Thursday to lead South Africa to a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Centurion and stay in contention of reaching the Champions Trophy semifinals.

Parnell took 5-57 as New Zealand collapsed from 164-4 to be all out for 214 in the 48th over at SuperSport Park. De Villiers then hit nine boundaries in 76 balls as South Africa reached 217-5 in 41.1 overs.

Having lost by 55 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method to Sri Lanka in Tuesday's opening match, South Africa needed to boost its run rate as it could determine which team advances from Group B.

South Africa returns to Centurion on Sunday for its final group match against England, which plays its opening match against Sri Lanka.

"It was a big day for the boys," South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. "In our first game against Sri Lanka, I thought our bowlers were a little tentative in the first 15 overs. But they came back strong on the same ground, hitting their areas hard.

"I thought our overall performance was very clinical, which is pleasing ahead of our big crunch game with England on Sunday."

South Africa lost Smith for 7 in the sixth over with the total on 22, caught by Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori off the bowling of Daryl Tuffey.

Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla put on a 50-run stand off 57 balls before Kallis nicked a cutter from Shane Bond and was caught by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. Kallis made 36 off 39 balls with six fours, and the Proteas were 74-2 in the 17th over.

Amla was almost run out in the 24th over, and he went the very next ball for 38 when Vettori trapped him leg before wicket with a turning ball to make it 108-3.

Thirty runs later, JP Duminy bottom-edged a wide delivery off Kyle Mills to McCullum and was out for 11.

Mark Boucher was the last wicket to fall, becoming McCullum's third catch of the innings as Tuffey collected his second wicket to be out for a run-a-ball 28 with the total on 180 in the 36th over.

De Villiers and Albie Morkel (19 not out) then hit 37 runs in just over five over to guide the hosts to victory.

"Our batters put us in a good position to launch in the final 10 overs for a score of around 250, but we never got that part of our game right," Vettori said. "Credit though to the SA team for a good all-round performance."

Earlier, Ross Taylor top-scored for New Zealand with a sluggish 72 from 106 balls. McCullum made 44 and Grant Elliott 39 in the only other contributions of note.


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