What a match!

Henry

Nichole Taljaard undoubtedly has ice in her veins.

Because with the seconds ticking down on the clock in the World Cup match between the Proteas and the Silver Ferns in Cape Town, the young South African took a calculated chance and threw the ball through the goal net with a graceful arc.

The end of her sniper endeavor?

South Africa are tied at 48-all against a formidable New Zealand team to leave the door to their podium place goal open a little more.

The Kiwis are the defending World Champions, while they beat the Proteas by 20 goals in their previous clash.

Yes-no, look: One’s heart may have believed that the South Africans could come up with a shake-up, but your mind painted a more gloomy picture.

Still, the Proteas – along with their enthusiastic supporters on the side of the track – saw to it that dreams got wings with their refuse-to-lay-down display.

Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni deserve a huge pat on the back for their defensive work and they regularly nipped the Kiwi attacks in the bud, while Bongi Msomi and Izette Griesel also played a cracking hit.

It was precisely Maweni’s boss interception attempt that led to Taljaard’s goal-kicking hit.

If South Africa gets a decent deal with Uganda tomorrow, while Jamaica finishes with the Silver Ferns, the home team can still fight for the silverware.

But for now, that’s tomorrow’s concern.

Tonight one can celebrate a good Protea performance: a draw has not made one feel so good for a long time.

Score after each quarter (Proteas’ score first):

First quarter: 10-11

Second quarter: 21-26

Third quarter: 34-38

Fourth quarter: 48-48

Protease: Ine-Marí Venter (goal), Nichole Taljaard (assist goal), Izette Griesel (attacking wing), Bongi Msomi (captain and center), Jeanté Strydom (defensive wing), Karla Pretorius (assist goal) and Phumza Maweni (defender). Substitutes: Owethu Ngubane, Elmeré van der Berg, Khanyisa Chawane, Shadine van der Merwe and Nicola Smith.