South Africa welcomed back their captain for the second day of action on Wednesday at the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup in Malaysia. Having come through the opening day with a full haul of six points, the Blitzstoks knew that another full house would secure a spot in the final on Saturday.
They opened their day with a meeting against Australia. The two sides had famously drawn at the Indoor World Cup earlier this year and there was not much to choose between them as they locked horns once again.
Australia scored early but South Africa levelled through Steven Paulo. Australia again led when Keegan Hezlett had a penalty stroke to level, but his attempt was saved and before the half time break the Aussies led 3-1. A sublime second quarter saw Dalpiarro Langford (2) and Steven Paulo flip the game on its head and turn a two-goal deficit into a one goal lead. Unfortunately for the South Africans it was a lead they wouldn’t hold on to conceding twice and going down 5-4 in an absolute classic.
Just three hours late the African champions would face their longtime rivals Namibia in the second game of the day. Namibia sat atop the standings after three matches with three wins out of three thanks to a big win over Hong Kong China earlier in the day.
South Africa were expecting a tough battle and were very much up for it with Steven Paulo the undeniable star of the show for the South Africans. South Africa opened the scoring with a sublime ball from Eustice converted by Nic White before Paulo scored his first. At half-time the score was 2-0. Fagan Hansen pulled one back for Namibia but almost immediately Paulo made it 3-1. The same man would make it 4-1 to complete his hat-trick before Namibia pulled one back through Cody van der Merwe.
Trevor Cormack pulled his keeper in a search for parity, but Dalpiarro Langford took the advantage to stretch the lead. Namibia would score a late consolation goal, but the victory took the South Africans to the top of the log ahead of the final group games on Friday.
Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup – Day 2 Results
Hong Kong China 0-22 Namibia
Malaysia 1-2 New Zealand
Australia 5-4 South Africa
Malaysia 24-0 Hong Kong China
Namibia 3-5 South Africa
Still to play
New Zealand vs. Australia