New Zealand strike as South Africa fight for World Cup life

Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Pacemen Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson put New Zealand on top against South Africa as the Proteas' struggled once again at the World Cup.

After a soggy outfield delayed the start at Edgbaston on Wednesday and reduced the match to 49 overs per side, Black Caps captain Kane Williamson won the toss and sent South Africa into bat, hoping to take advantage of bowler-friendly conditions.

He was rewarded in just the second over when Boult demolished Quinton de Kock's stumps, sending him back for just five.

Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis played some fluent shots as the Proteas recovered to reach 59-1 in the 14th over.

But Ferguson then produced a yorker to bowl Du Plessis for 23 immediately after a bouncer.

South Africa, who brought in fast bowler Lungi Ngidi for Beuran Hendricks, must win this match if they are to stand a realistic chance of reaching the semi-finals after finally recording their first victory of the tournament, against Afghanistan.

Despite that nine-wicket win, Du Plessis's side are still languishing in eighth spot in the 10-team table after five games, with the top four qualifying for next month's semis.

After Wednesday's game, they will face Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.

New Zealand are flying high and a fourth win would lift the 2015 finalists to the top of the table ahead of matches against West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and hosts England.

Wet weather has caused major disruption at the World Cup, with four no results in which teams shared a point each.