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Williamson leads NZ to last-over win against South Africa

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Kane Williamson hit a six in the last over to reach his century and followed it up with a boundary to give New Zealand a four-wicket victory over South Africa with three balls to spare Wednesday, in the closest finish of the Cricket World Cup so far.

New Zealand went into the last over at 234-6 and chasing 242 for victory. Andile Phehlukwayo's first ball was sent for a single by Mitchell Santner, sensibly giving Williamson the strike, and the New Zealand captain immediately took his chance with a powerful six.

Williamson finished 106 not out off 138 balls as New Zealand reached 245-6 in a match reduced to 49 overs each innings.

The win moved New Zealand atop the standings and effectively put an end to South Africa's chances of reaching the playoffs.

Williamson was brilliantly supported and occasionally overshadowed by Colin de Grandhomme, who smashed a 47-ball 60 before impatiently holing out to Faf du Plessis at long-off to a delivery from Lungi Ngidi in the 47th over while going for his third six.

Williamson and de Grandhomme joined with the total at 137-5 in reply to South Africa's 241-6 off 49 overs, and their partnership was crucial in guiding New Zealand to its fourth win of the tournament.

The Black Caps now have nine points, one clear of top-ranked England and defending champion Australia. At the other end of the table, South Africa appears certain to exit the tournament — in the first major shock of the 2019 edition — with only three points from six games.

New Zealand appeared content with the run chase ahead of them but the wicket was trickier than it appeared, and the chase far harder. Enter Williamson.

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More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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