Kane Williamson hit a six to reach his century and level the scores and then stroked the winning runs with a boundary off the next delivery as New Zealand edged South Africa by four wickets with three balls to spare at the Cricket World Cup.
Williamson finished unbeaten on 106 from 138 balls in a composed innings to guide New Zealand to 245-6 chasing 242 for victory.
The unbeaten New Zealanders moved to the top of the World Cup standings with nine points from four wins and a point from the washout against India. South Africa has just one win from six games and its chances of reaching the playoffs are all but over.
Williamson shared a 91-run partnership with Colin de Grandhomme, who scored 60 from 47 balls, to get the New Zealanders within reach.
De Grandhomme's dismissal left New Zealand needing 14 runs from 11 balls and four wickets in hand. Williams angled a boundary off the last ball of the penultimate over to set up a scenario where New Zealand needed eight runs off the last over to win.
Mitchell Santner took a single to the last over from Andile Phehlukwayo, and Williamson hit the six and the boundary from consecutive balls to finish it off.
Williamson's poise under pressure and match-winning century earned him tons of praise on Twitter:
Gem of a player, Kane Williamson. Composure and class
— Mike atherton (@Athersmike) June 19, 2019
Kane Williamson Top dog! Superb century to anchor his team to win in nerve wracking contest — Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) June 19, 2019
Been asking for 100 from someone from the start... can’t win games with 60s and 50s.. Kane Williamson great composure under pressure..
— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) June 19, 2019
What a marvellous innings from Kane Williamson. Fantastic game of cricket and his calmness stood out in taking New Zealand home. Terrific stuff #NZvSA pic.twitter.com/ZxFgagPZl4 — VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) June 19, 2019
They also serve those who stand and wait.. Kane Williamson a reminder of a cricketer from another era: calm, low profile, plays with a straight bat, shy smile and a strong heart! Well played sir! Kiwis on the brink of a semi final berth.. #KaneWilliamson
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 19, 2019
Kane Williamson - you beauty! Captain Cool What a knock under pressure Class act - Kept losing wickets at regular intervals but Williamson kept his cool South Africa have not beaten New Zealand in a World Cup game since 1999!#SAvNZ #NZvSA #CWC19 — Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) June 19, 2019
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) June 19, 2019
Kane Williamson did a Dhoni against South Africa
Kane Williamson is a champion. Along with Dhoni the coolest head in world cricket. What a fantastic chase and a great victory for New Zealand #NZvSA pic.twitter.com/kARTNK9gKe — Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) June 19, 2019
Kane Williamson absolutely Dhoni-ed that innings
— Peter Miller (@TheCricketGeek) June 19, 2019
South Africa disappoint again
South Africa's great strength as an outstanding one-day side over the years lay in the fact that they gave the opposition nothing. Everything had to be earned. They will look back at today and wonder about the little things that cost them — Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 19, 2019
End of the road for South Africa. Usual script in world cups for them. Brilliant from Williamson and NZ shows why they can never be ignored. England NZ India and Aus though Bangladesh may not agree.
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) June 19, 2019
With AP inputs