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Mar 26, 2011 at 08:52am IST

NZ hails Oram as Black Caps atone

Wellington: New Zealand awoke on Saturday in stunned disbelief to news the Black Caps had knocked South Africa out of the World Cup with the much-criticised Jacob Oram the match hero.

The quarter-final in Dhaka was played only hours after the injury-prone Oram had told journalists he deliberately avoided listening to talk radio in New Zealand because he was aware he was the target of vehement criticism.

"I don't need the negativity around me," the 32-year-old said.

NZ hails Oram as Black Caps atone

Oram was hailed as a hero after his match-winning four for 39.

"If I have a bad innings or a bad stretch of games I know what's going wrong and I don't need to be reminded from people who don't actually know me."

But, after months of criticism, Oram was hailed as a hero after his match-winning four for 39 and sensational pair of catches as New Zealand pulled off a dramatic 49-run win over South Africa to qualify for the semi-finals.

Radio Sport host Doug Golightly led the praise for the man he had constantly referred to as "Jake the fake," acknowledging the tall all-rounder's performance was pivotal to the outcome.

As South Africa cruised towards New Zealand's unimpressive 221, the turning point came when Oram took an athletic catch on the boundary to dismiss Jacques Kallis and the Proteas folded from there.

"I gave up and went to sleep when SA only needed about 120 runs to win and we still needed 8 wickets. I've only just woken up to this brilliant news," one poster named Steve wrote on the Fairfax News website.

The veteran Oram has played 150 ODI matches for New Zealand over the past 10 years, and Eddie admitted he was one of many who criticised the tall all-rounder's inclusion in the World Cup side but was "happy to eat my words and well done Oram."

It was a sentiment echoed by many with Corey S writing: "Finally, Oram lives up to the hype, and delivers on the world stage. Well done to the team and to him in particular."

"Sorry Oram for not believing," Margaret said on the Yahoo-Xtra website where Shaun added: "Miracles do happen."

The New Zealand team had been largely written off at home before the World Cup, arriving in the subcontinent having won just two of 16 one-day internationals in the previous six months.

"New Zealand had muddled along for the last few months, building up a horrible losing record and arriving at the World Cup seemingly without a prayer," cricket writer David Leggat wrote in the New Zealand Herald.

But after enduring a miserable summer not everyone was convinced they had turned the corner by beating the highly rated South Africans in the World Cup.

"The worst team to leave New Zealand fluked a win and club player Oram did something he is paid for and has not done for the last 30 games," Dylan wrote on Yahoo.

"This match should be investigated ... very suspicious," added Craig D on Fairfax.

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