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The Christchurch Press Klusener clubs fatal blow
Geoff Longley in Napier - 26 March 1999

South African cricketer Lance Klusener wields the heaviest bat in the business, and he needed it to slug the Proteas to a dramatic series-squaring one-day victory against New Zealand at McLean Park.

Klusener slammed an unbeaten 35 in 20 balls with four fours and the match-winning six on the game's final ball yesterday from a Dion Nash full toss.

The hearty blow enabled the Proteas to snatch victory from the Black Caps in a see-saw struggle.

The result leaves the teams tied two-all in the six-match BNZ series with the fifth game, a day-night match, in Auckland today.

No match is ever lost with Klusener at the crease and he has previously carried South Africa to victory when it needed 11 from the final over - against West Indies.

Using the bat more like a club, as Lance Cairns used to wield his Excalibur, Klusener launched into the off-target Nash delivery - he was trying to bowl a yorker - with four wanted from the final ball, and it sailed into the stands.

``It's been a bit tough for Dion. He was in this situation bowling the last over against India earlier this season here and India won,'' said New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming..

``Also, in the close game against South Africa last season he went for the match-winning hit over the boundary and who caught him out but Klusener.''

The match had several pivotal points for both sides, with third umpire Steve Dunne in the hot seat twice in one over. When Klusener was on five, New Zealand wicketkeeper Adam Parore brushed a bail with not enough force to initially dislodge it, with Klusener short of his ground. By the time television replays had shown the bail moving, Klusener was arguably safe.

Later, in the 36th over, Nathan Astle, the Black Caps best bowler, flicked a ball back onto the stumps and this time Klusener, on six, was desperately close again to being run out. Again Dunne gave the benefit of the doubt to the batsman after umpteen replays when it appeared Klusener's bat had crossed the creaseline but not quite been grounded when the ball hit.

New Zealand also suffered misfortune when umpire Dave Quested rejected a caught behind appeal against Shaun Pollock on six off Astle when the ball was snicked to Parore.

However, Astle brought the Black Caps back into contention with his miraculous one-handed diving catch which dismissed Pollock at long-on.

On balance, perhaps New Zealand did not deserve to win the replayed game, which had been reduced to a 40-over encounter. Ten balls were unbowled in New Zealand's innings and it was on target for a score of at least 200. Instead it was dismissed for 191.

Roger Twose and Adam Parore righted a struggling innings with their 93-run fourth-wicket stand at run-a-ball pace, and Twose continued to bat with aplomb, for an unbeaten 79 in 77 balls. However, he ran out of partners when the Black Caps, who usually finish well, lost their last five wickets for 15 runs.

Source: The Christchurch Press
Editorial comments can be sent to The Christchurch Press at press@press.co.nz