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New Zealand v South Africa, Fourth ODI
CricInfo match report - 26 March 1999

CricInfo report

South Africa levelled the one-day series at 2-2 today in sensational fashion, Lance Klusener hitting a six off the last ball of the game to snatch victory over New Zealand by two wickets.

The fourth one-day international of the series at McLean Park, Napier, had been rescheduled for today after rain cut short Thursday's day-night match after South Africa had faced only 9 balls in pursuit of New Zealand's 257.

The fixture was rescheduled as a day game today, but morning rain put paid to any chance of a 10.15am start. Play eventually began at midday, each side to face 40 overs. Hansie Cronje won the toss and put New Zealand into bat, a decision that started to bear fruit when Matthew Horne was dismissed for 1.

In a bold move by NZ captain Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori was sent in at first-drop to act as a pinch-hitter. The move failed as Vettori scored 7. Astle (18) fell to Kallis' first ball of the day, and the first 15 overs yielded 65 runs. Fleming (23) was run out by a Pollock direct hit, and New Zealand were 68 for 4.

Twose and Parore added 93 for the fifth wicket, but after the NZ wicketkeeper was dismissed for 37, the home side's hopes of a score well into the 200's evaporated as the tail collapsed. Roger Twose's fine 77 ball unbeaten 79 was all that held the New Zealand innings together, all out for 191 after 38.4 overs, eight balls short of their allotted total.

Pollock (3/33) and Kallis (3/41) were the best bowlers in an innings where eight overs per player was the limit. Allan Donald and Lance Klusener claimed one each. Donald was able to bowl only five overs, straining his stomach muscles again. He will take no further part in the tour.

The South African pursuit of 192 started sensationally, Gary Kirsten fending a Geoff Allott delivery straight to Chris Harris at backward point on the opening delivery of the innings. Allott removed Kallis for 4 before Gibbs (52) and Cullinan (61) added 88 for the third wicket. Cullinan hit three fours and two sixes (off Bulfin and Astle) in his knock.

When Shaun Pollock was gone for 16, South Africa were 162 for 7 from 37.2 overs. With South Africa needing 30 runs from 16 balls, it seemed that NZ were poised to seal the game up. Pollock's dismissal was perhaps the catch of the season. The South African all-rounder (who earlier in the day became the fastest player to reach the 1000 run/100 wicket double in ODI's) smashed the ball in the air down the ground, Nathan Astle racing around from long on to take the catch left-handed at full stretch.

With Mark Boucher and his runner joining Klusener at the crease, the remainder of the 38th over (bowled by Nash) consisted of a single to Klusener, a no-ball, a leg-bye, and two Klusener fours. Nineteen runs to win from two overs.

Geoff Allott gave up 8 runs from the 39th over, and then it was Dion Nash bowling to Lance Klusener. The first ball was a single. Boucher pulled the second straight to Twose at midwicket. Significantly, the batsmen crossed while the catch was taken, so Klusener was back on strike. Ten to win from four balls.

The third ball of the over, Klusener smashed Nash to the backward point fence. Six to win from three balls.

Ball four, Klusener can manage only a single, and loses the strike to Steve Elworthy. Ball five, Elworthy gets a single, Klusener has the strike once more. Four to win off the final ball. The pressure ball from Nash goes sailing over the long-on fence, and South Africa win. Klusener's unbeaten 35 came from 19 deliveries.

The rescheduled game means a hectic schedule for both sides with game five in the series at Eden Park, Auckland tomorrow afternoon, the New Zealand team leaving Napier within minutes of Friday's loss having been completed.

Lance Klusener won the man of the match. After the match Hansie Cronje described Astle's catch of Pollock as the best outfield catch his players will probably ever see.

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