South Africa rode on some excellent bowling to clinch a one-run victory over New Zealand in a thrilling Group D clash of the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord's on Tuesday night.
With both teams having already qualified for the Super Eight stage, the match was about keeping the momentum going, and South Africa earned the bragging rights as they restricted New Zealand to 127 for five.
But things did not go as planned for Graeme Smith's men, as they could put up just 128 for seven after being put in to bat by New Zealand stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum.
However, some excellent work in the field allowed the Proteas to get even as they stifled the Kiwis, who at one stage were cruising along nicely, with McCullum (57), who led the side in the absence of the injured Daniel Vettori, putting on 56 runs with Ross Taylor (22) for the third wicket.
New Zealand suffered a setback early on when they lost Martin Guptill (6) and Neil Broom (1) cheaply. However, McCullum, who was rather cautious, managing just six boundaries in his 54-ball knock, and Taylor did a good job in repairing the innings.
Taylor fought gamely despite suffering from a hamstring strain and needing a runner before his stumps were shattered by an RE van der Merwe delivery.
That dismissal put the brakes on New Zealand and they struggled to get going. McCullum fell trying to improve the run-rate, Mark Boucher taking off the bails behind stumps from a Van der Merwe delivery.
Jacob Oram (24 off 18 balls) did his best to see the team through, but fell one run short.
Earlier, brilliant bowling and some excellent fielding helped New Zealand restrict South Africa to 128 for seven.
McCullum's decision to put South Africa in was vindicated as the bowlers kept the dangerous Proteas batsmen in check. They were aided in their cause by two brilliant pieces of run-outs that got rid of Jacques Kallis (24) and later the in-form AB Villiers (15).
It was the first run-out that changed the complexion of the match. South Africa openers Graeme Smith (33) and Kallis (24) were going about their job nicely, scoring runs at a decent pace.
Kallis took 10 runs off Kyle Mills's second over while Smith punished anything pitched wide outside off.
The duo put on 49 in seven overs before a brilliant run-out by the stand-in skipper cut short Kallis's 23-ball innings that included two boundaries and a six.
The dismissal put the brakes on South Africa and they managed just 61 at the halfway stage.
Veteran Scott Styris then removed Herschelle Gibbs (3) and Ian Butler (2/13) bowled Smith to put South Africa in even more trouble.
The South Africa captain's 35-ball knock included four hits to the fence.
RE van der Merwe (0) came and went and that brought AB de Villiers (15) to the crease.
He showed his intent with a four off Mills but fell trying to steal a non-existent second run as Martin Guptill's throw from the deep knocked off the stumps at the non-striking end.
JP Duminy (29) hit a couple of sixes towards the end to prop up the South African innings but fell trying to hit one too many.