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Saturday, April 20, 2024

New Zealand v South Africa: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

Both teams currently sit in the top four places that would guarantee a semi-final spot but New Zealand have the greater need for a win in Pune tomorrow.

The Black Caps started their World Cup campaign with four successive wins but back-to-back defeats to India and Australia have left them looking over their shoulder at the chasing pack. A win against the Proteas would see them regain momentum and potentially be enough to clinch a last-four place. Defeat would see them possibly needing to beat both Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their last two group games.

South Africa have won five of their six games so far, and emerged as the most consistent team behind tournament hosts India. The Proteas also boast two of the top-five run scorers at World Cup 2023 in Quinton De Kock and Aiden Markram, coupled with a balanced bowling line-up in which Marco Jansen has been the stand-out with 13 wickets.
The South Africans will hope to make it a double triumph over New Zealand following the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup final win on Saturday.


Team News

New Zealand are waiting for news on captain Kane Williamson, who they hope will return from a broken left thumb sustained in the game with Bangladesh a fortnight ago. Williamson hit in the nets on Monday with the Black Caps’ medical team seeing how the joint reacts before making a decision, although this game may come too soon. Paceman Lockie Ferguson is definitely out with an Achilles injury meaning a likely recall for the experienced Tim Southee, who has recovered from a broken thumb of his own.

The Proteas have fewer injury concerns with their only doubt being paceman Kagiso Rabada, who missed the nailbiting victory over Pakistan last time out with a back problem.

Expected Line-ups

New Zealand: Conway, Young, Ravindra, Mitchell, Latham (c, wk), Phillips, Neesham, Santner, Henry, Boult, Southee

South Africa: Bavuma (c), De Kock (wk), Van der Dussen, Markram, Klaasen, Miller, Jansen, Coetzee, Maharaj, Rabada, Shamsi

What they said

South Africa coach Rob Walter on the pressure increasing following the Springboks’ rugby triumph.
“We have spoken as a team about what we can take from that, as opposed to how it impacts us from a pressure point of view. Rugby is rugby, [the Springboks] have done really well over a long period, they’ve doubled up on World Cups, we are yet to get over that line. So we need to take care of our own business and take the lessons and inspiration from the rugby side.
“That Springbok side continues to inspire and give hope; they do exactly that for us. To see what they have done, the levels they have reached, is inspirational for us. Hopefully, that can be the thing that is a catalyst for us moving forward, even more than the cricket we have played already.”

Former New Zealand bowler Shane Bond on the rise to prominence of Rachin Ravindra: “We’ve got a new superstar for New Zealand.
“To have a player like him, who’s 23, bowls decent enough left-arm orthodox, opens the batting in four-day cricket – he’s going to be a cornerstone of the team across formats in years to come.
“He just seems like he’s got so much time and his decision-making is excellent…he’s been brilliant to watch, unbelievable.”

Prediction

South Africa’s batting line-up has caused havoc for bowling attacks throughout the tournament and with New Zealand missing the explosive pace of Lockie Ferguson, the Black Caps may lack the firepower to make early inroads.
It should be a cracker with so much resting on the outcome but expect South Africa to edge it.

Check out our other sports stories here:
https://www.businesslancashire.co.uk/category/sport/

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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