The daily tournament preview charges down the wicket with Cricket World Cup tips for South Africa’s must-win showdown with in-form New Zealand.
19:30 (AEST), Wed 19th Jun @ Edgbaston, Birmingham
History: Played 70: South Africa 41 V New Zealand 24
Last meeting: March 4, 2017: South Africa d New Zealand by 6 wickets at Eden Park
Final Thoughts: If South Africa are to rescue their Cricket World Cup campaign, it has to start now – against undefeated New Zealand.
Three straight losses to England (104 runs), Bangladesh (21 runs) and India (6 wickets) left the Proteas on the ropes. They were in early trouble before their clash with West Indies was washed out.
But the heavyweights finally got off the mark with a nine-wicket win over lowly Afghanistan. Imran Tahir (4/29) and Chris Morris (3/13) were the chief destroyers in bowling Afghanistan out for 125. Quinton de Kock (68) and Hashim Amla (41*) saw South Africa to the target in the 29th over.
The Black Caps have capitalised on a soft early draw. They thumped Sri Lanka (10 wickets) and Afghanistan (7 wickets) either side of a nervy two-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Last week’s blockbuster against India was abandoned.
Despite some abhorrent running between the wickets together, Kane Williamson (40 and 79*) and Ross Taylor (82 and 48) have started the tournament strongly. Meanwhile, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry and Jimmy Neesham have so far overshadowed pace spearhead Trent Boult with outstanding bowling displays.
New Zealand and South Africa played out one of the great Cricket World Cup matches of all time in 2015. Grant Elliott’s final-over six snatched an unforgettable semi-final victory for the Kiwis at Eden Park to continue South Africa’s tortured history at the tournament.
New Zealand also pulled off World Cup upsets against South Africa in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
The teams last met at ODI level in February-March 2017. The Proteas claimed a 3-2 series win in the Shaky Isles. But Black Caps Guptill and Taylor scored the only centuries of the series.
New Zealand are only narrow favourites and too good to pass up given the teams’ respective formlines in England.
Also consider the Black Caps in the Most Sixes market at $1.91, while Williamson and de Kock are the best-value propositions in the Top Batsman stakes.