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World Cup Cricket:  New Zealand Beats Host South Africa - 2003-02-16

New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming has blasted a sparkling century to lead the Kiwis to a stunning nine-wicket victory over favored South Africa, in a Group B World Cup match in Johannesburg.

Fleming delivered his maiden World Cup century Sunday, bashing an unbeaten 134 off 132 deliveries, as New Zealand tallied 229-for-one in 36.5 overs.

South Africa had scored a challenging 306-for-six in 50 overs, but two rain interruptions reduced New Zealand's target to 226 in 39. By the time Fleming and Nathan Astle came out for the third time, they needed just 45 runs off 51 balls with nine wickets in hand.

The win was the second for New Zealand in three matches, with the only loss coming in its opening encounter with 1996 champion Sri Lanka. The victory boosted New Zealand's chances of making the Super-Six round, despite its decision not to play the match against Kenya in Nairobi over security concerns.

Pre-tournament favorite South Africa is now in a precarious position with just one win and two losses.

Meanwhile, Pace bowler James Anderson has taken a career-best four wickets for just 25 runs, as he led England to a six-wicket Group A win over the Netherlands in East London, South Africa.

Sunday's match was England's first at the World Cup, after refusing to play its scheduled opener against Zimbabwe due to security concerns in Harare.

Anderson's performance helped restrict the Netherlands to 142-for-nine in its 50 overs. England then easily reached its target in only 23.2 overs. Nick Knight and Michael Vaughan led the English attack, tallying 51 runs each as they shared a second wicket partnership of 89.

And Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar bowled Pakistan to a 171-run Group A World Cup victory over Namibia, after dismissing the African cricket minnows for 84 in Kimberley, South Africa. Wasim Akram celebrated his record-setting 34th World Cup appearance by taking five wickets for 28 in nine overs on Sunday. It was Akram's best-ever performance in World Cup cricket, surpassing his previous four-for-14.

He was well supported by Shoaib Akhtar, whose sheer pace unnerved the Namibians. He took four-for-46 in nine overs, including a ball clocked at 159 kilometers per hour. Earlier, Namibia restricted Pakistan to 255 for nine wickets.