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Kiwis survive Pollock spectacular

New Zealand survived a desperate last-over lashing from an injured Shaun Pollock to secure a dramatic five-run win over South Africa in their third one-day international in Wellington on Friday.

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Needing 26 to win off the last five balls, Pollock clouted three mighty sixes and a two but his heroic effort was stifled by a last-ball yorker from Kyle Mills.

The victory in the 38-over match, shortened by the need to dry the bowler's run-up area after a week of torrential rain in the New Zealand capital, put the New Zealand Black Caps 2-1 up in the six-match series.

New Zealand had set South Africa a target of 255 thanks to a century opening stand in 110 balls by Stephen Fleming and rookie international Michael Papps, and an unbroken partnership of 84 in 43 balls by Scott Styris and Brendan McCullum at the end.

The South African chase was on target when skipper Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs plundered 95 off 13 overs for the first wicket.

But Styris changed the momentum when he removed both openers and spinner Daniel Vettori chimed in with the vital wickets of Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher.

As the tourists tumbled to 153 for six with 12 overs remaining they appeared out of the hunt, until the recalled Ashwell Prince began the revival which was boosted when he was joined by Pollock at the fall of the seventh wicket.

Prince was unbeaten on 45 from 38 balls while Pollock compiled 29 from 17.

Fleming said Mills breathed a huge sigh of relief when he tied up Pollock with his ball.

"It was far too exciting for poor old Kyle, he's still shaking a bit in the changing room," said Fleming who attributed the New Zealand victory to the batting onslaught of Styris and McCullum.

"It won the match for us," he said.

"A score of 220 probably would have been short, but that iced the cake for us. The last four overs was phenomenal." The pair hit 69 off the last four overs, including five sixes and six fours.

Styris hit four of the sixes, while McCullum hit 41 off 24 as part-time spinner Smith gave up 23 runs off the 35th over, Makhaya Ntini 16 off the 37th over then Kallis 17 off the last.

Smith said his bowlers were disappointing once more.

"We should have only been chasing 220 and we need to look at our bowling again.

"Shaun is always capable of that fantastic hitting but we should never have been chasing 250."

New Zealand's ordinary opening batting efforts of recent times ended courtesy of the 100-run stand by Fleming and Papps, with Papps topscoring with 67 in just his third international.

It was New Zealand's first three-figure opening stand in three years.

Only Pollock put the brakes on, conceding six runs off his first five overs before later leaving the field during his sixth over as a precaution due to a groin strain.

Fleming continued his sublime form with 43 off 45 balls, including sixes off Kallis and spinner Nicky Boje, before hitting a soft catch to square leg.

Papps, who scored most of his nine boundaries through the point region, brought up his maiden 50 off 70 balls before departing in the 30th over.

New Zealand named an unchanged team from their five-wicket win which levelled the six-match series in Christchurch on Tuesday, while South Africa made two changes, with Lance Klusener and Jacques Rudolph ruled out and replaced by allrounder Albie Morkel and batsman Prince.

Klusener has a back injury and Rudolph is ill with the flu.


New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (captain), Michael Papps, Hamish Marshall, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Chris Cairns, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Boeta Dippenaar, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Albie Morkel, Nicky Boje, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel.


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