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On your mark... get, set, go

On paper it looks a lopsided contest and going by that the third quarterfinal between South Africa and New Zealand at the Sher-e Bangla stadium on Friday could just keep the trend of mismatches at this venue going. Nilankur Das reports. The equation

india Updated: Mar 25, 2011 01:33 IST
Nilankur Das

On paper it looks a lopsided contest and going by that the third quarterfinal between South Africa and New Zealand at the Sher-e Bangla stadium on Friday could just keep the trend of mismatches at this venue going. There is one little glitch though. This New Zealand team has, in a series of defeats, including blanks against Bangladesh and India in the build up to the World Cup, managed to put it across Pakistan, who have marched into the semifinals. So that outside chance of ‘on their day they can beat any team’ cannot be written off. South Africa have been put to test on two occasions and while they have shown great character, led by Dale Steyn, to beat India, they choked against England.

Three spinners
Going by the way South Africa have done their homework against every team and picked their side to suit the conditions and counter the opposition's strengths, it is likely they could go in with three spinners, a combination that worked for them against Bangladesh as well. So Steyn and Morne Morkel will be accompanied by left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and off-spinner Johan Botha.

NZ batting key
The key to New Zealand's success will be their batting. It came good in their win against Pakistan in the league stage and skipper Daniel Vettori, who returns to the 11 after recovering from a knee injury suffered during that match, will hope the likes of Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill click at the top.

Eyes on Amla, Kallis
For South Africa to do well in batting, especially on the very slow and low wicket here, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis will have to get a partnership going. Both can push the ball into the gaps if boundaries dry up.

Wicked wicket https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/240311/25_03_11_pg20a.jpg

It could turn out to be a good toss to lose for captains who have shown interest to bat first on this strip. But going by the trend of matches here, batting becomes relatively easy once the lights come on. This is going by some of the matches before the World Cup. In this tournament, the four matches that Bangladesh have played here, their batting has collapsed on every occasion except against India. But it was a different wicket in the opening match as India went on to post the highest total of this tournament.