Rassie van der Dussen hits out during his unbeaten 67 off 64 balls against New Zealand on Wednesday. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

BIRMINGHAM – South Africa limped to 241/6 in 49 overs against New Zealand on a sluggish Edgbaston surface in their must-win Cricket World Cup clash on Wednesday.

After a 90-minute delay due to a wet outfield forced two overs to be lost, the Proteas struggled to create any form of momentum throughout their innings.

Although Hashim Amla (55 off 83 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (67 not out off 64 balls) both struck half-centuries, the New Zealand bowlers were never put under form of pressure.

It was criminal that Colin de Grandhomme conceded just 33 runs from his 10 overs, and took the wicket of Aiden Markam (38 off 55 balls) at a crucial juncture.

De Grandhomme was simplistic in his approach, sticking to a straightforward line-and-length, which he never wavered from.

South Africa’s batting unit, though, should take responsibility for not even attempting to disrupt the Zimbabwean-born all-rounder’s line.

The Proteas were under pressure from the moment Quinton de Kock’s leg-stump was uprooted early on by Trent Boult.

Although Amla and Faf du Plessis attempted to rebuild with a steady partnership for the second wicket, the Kiwis hit back through Lockie Ferguson (3/59) when he yorked Proteas skipper Du Plessis (23 off 55 balls).

It was at this point that New Zealand turned on the screws through De Grandhomme and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner (1/45).

With the pitch offering just enough assistance for the spinner, Santner turned one past the outside edge of Amla’s bat to bring an end to the Proteas veteran’s vigil.

Although David Miller tried to dig the Proteas out of a hole with 36 off 37 balls, it was ultimately left to Van der Dussen to muster a total that the bowlers are capable of defending.

It will still, though, be an almighty task for Kagiso Rabada and Co, but if South Africa are to remain in contention this World Cup, they have no other choice.

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