South Africa who are set to meet New Zealand in the third quarter-final of ICC World Cup 2011, at Mirpur, Bangladesh, on Friday, March 25, are overwhelming favourites to win the game and book a place in the semi-finals. However, New Zealand can beat South Africa if they play to a plan. In this article, I analyze how:
- Win the toss and bat: This needs to be emphasized especially because Vettori who has returned to skipper the team likes to bowl whenever he wins the toss. New Zealand’s best hope against the big teams is to bat first and put the runs on the board, as they showed against Pakistan.
- Dismiss Smith early: The Kiwis should aim to dismiss Smith early, and that could cause a wobble in the South African middle order. Though Amla has consistently been among the runs, the Proteas’ skipper has not found runs easy to score at this world cup. With Southee firing well in New Zealand’s bowling line up, they have the man to achieve this first step of the plan.
- Get all-rounders to fire: New Zealand have an enviable wealth of all-rounders, a rare commodity. Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, N McCulum and Vettori are all competent with bat and ball alike. But barring Vettori, they are inconsistent performers. If their all-rounders fire on this big stage, the Kiwis could be on their way to causing an upset.
- Handle the bowling judiciously: Most bowling attacks fail in the death overs. In Vettori, New Zealand have one of the best bowlers who has taken charge of the final overs, several times in the past, with rare composure. Vettori must handle his bowling, particularly his own, with care, so as not to allow the Proteas to run away with the game. For instance, he could bowl three of the five batting powerplay overs, apart from the death overs. Vettori holds the key in a battle that could be decided by spin, on a dry sub-continental wicket at Mirpur.
- Be wary of Steyn: Apart from Steyn, no other South African bowler has looked overly threatening. Imran Tahir if he plays could be a threat in spin friendly conditions, but if the Kiwis can weather Steyn at the top of the order they could launch themselves to a big score. They should seek to play him out and look to deprive him of a wicket and not worry about the run-rate. The runs will come if you preserve your wickets.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.