New Zealand edged South Africa 3-1 in the 5th-8th playoff match at the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
The Kiwis will now play the winner of the second 5-8th playoff match between Malaysia and Great Britain in the 5th-6th classification match on Saturday.
It is heartening to see the South Africans attractive hockey against the Kiwis. Instead of keeping their opponents attacking machinery in check, South Africa got off the blocks early and struck the first goal in the 14th minute.
The goal came from a brilliant move by Damien Knott who sent the ball across to Viwe Mbata who made his way into the circle on the right and unleased a powerful shot past goalkeeper Hayden Ganley.
New Zealand dominated the proceedings after this and Jonty Elmes restored parity with a timey execution of the ball with a rising shot past goalkeeper Gianluca Virissimo seconds to the end pf the first quarter to level score 1-1 into the second quarter.
There was no stopping the Kiwis whose best finish in the Sultan pf Johor Cup was a fourth-place in 2014, as they sank the South Africa with two more field goals. Sam Lints extended the lead to 2-1 in the 36th minute and Gus Nelson sealed 3-1 victory in the 47th minute.
Kiwis captain Benjamin Culhane was presented with the Man of the Match award from Datuk Seri N. Sri Shanmuganathan, captained of the 1975 Malaysian World Cup hockey team.