Cricket World Cup: South Africa vs New Zealand
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Date: Wednesday 19th June 2019
South Africa will be hoping to build on their first win of the Cricket World Cup as they take on unbeaten New Zealand at Edgbaston. Faf du Plessis’ side picked up their first win of the campaign with a comprehensive win over Afghanistan last time out and will arrive in the West Midlands full of confidence. It is very much knockout cricket for the Proteas though with their defeats to England, India and Bangladesh as well as a wash out against the West Indies leaving them with only 3 points on the board from their opening 5 games. They will be all too aware of the need to win every group stage game from this point onwards to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. New Zealand meanwhile are unbeaten at this year’s tournament, winning 3 of their 4 games (Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) as well as suffering a washout against India. They are one of the most devastating sides in the competition and they will be looking to further South Africa’s plight should they get the opportunity.
South Africa finally got a win on the board last time out with a comprehensive 9-wicket win over Afghanistan. Imran Tahir proved to be the star of the show with 4 wickets and the 40 year old continues to perform at the highest level for his country. The Proteas also saw some much needed contributions with the bat come to the fore with Quinton de Kock continuing his good form with 68 whilst Hashim Amla looked back in decent nick as he registered 41 not out in Cardiff.
New Zealand are one of only two unbeaten sides in the competition and look to possess one of the most potent bowling attacks in the tournament. Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham and Lockie Ferguson have all contributed thus far for the Kiwis. Accompanied by the craft and guile of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson and the extreme hitting power of opener Martin Guptill, they look to be one of the most well-balanced sides in the competition and they should go far.
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Inspired by their former captain Brendon McCullum, the Kiwis are renowned for attacking the bowling from the outset and with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro opening the batting, sparks could well fly.
Wicket keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has been South Africa’s top performer with the bat so far at this World Cup and he’ll want to continue his fine form here. He has passed 50 twice already and he will be looking to go big against the Kiwis.
Kagiso Rabada has been South Africa’s talisman for the past few years in the absence of Dale Steyn and he will be looking to generate some extra pace and bounce from the Edgbaston pitch.
The Kiwis are blessed with plenty of top batsmen in their ranks and in Ross Taylor have one of the most consistent performers in the game. He has already registered 130 runs in his three innings so far.
Trent Boult is one of the premiere bowlers in world cricket and he is very much the man for the big occasion. He possesses the ability to move the ball both ways and consistently bowls close to 90 mph and he will enjoy bowling at Edgbaston.
With New Zealand currently unbeaten in their World Cup campaign, the need to win is perhaps greater for South Africa. However, the Kiwis are a professional outfit with plenty of options within their squad should they wish to change things around and they should have too much about them for the Proteas in Birmingham.
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