CWC15 Semi Final Preview
South Africa vs New Zealand
Aplomb New Zealand Look for the First Final
After more than a month of, more of, one sided matches we have the top four teams of the tournament- South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. These teams are, in true sense, top four teams of the tournament, CWC15 gauging by the way they have played.
With the first semi final to be played between South Africa and New Zealand we will definitely have a team who will play the first final in their world cup history.
The Blackcaps have entered into their seventh semi final of the biggest ODI tournament and now begins their real struggle. In the six previous semis they played, they have managed to lose all of them. So this is the stage which they have not crossed hitherto.
The other team in the first semi final too have not managed to cross the hurdle of semi final in the three semi finals they have featured in. Knock out games being their foible they have won their first this world cup by beating Sri Lanka in the Quarter Finals.
The transformation of New Zealand in the last six months or so has been scintillating. Under their captain Brendon McCullum they have been a team to beat in this cricket world cup. The aggressive captaincy by McCullum has done the job for the team till now in the tournament. Intrepid as he has been in his captaincy in his batting and captaincy has rubbed onto the team. Though the team had some jittery moments with this all aggressive approach but come Tuesday there is little doubt that they will change their approach.
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The team has been unbeaten and high on confidence which is the perfect ingredients to enter into the semi finals. The batting, which was believed to have been undercooked with all the low scores they had to chase, had the necessary hit before the semi final in the group game against Bangladesh (which they won by 3 wickets chasing 289) and against West Indies (in which they scored 393 and won by 143 runs).
In both of the games the batting shone with their two star batsmen Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson failing with the bat. However, it was Martin Guptill who scored 105 and 237 in the consecutive matches to seal the games for New Zealand. He is now the second highest scorer in this tournament with aggregate of 498 runs at an average of 83. If McCullum and Kane Williamson get going in the semis it will be a formidable batting line up and would do well to compliment the already strong bowling.
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Bowling is forte of this New Zealand team with the pace of Trent Boult, the swing of Tim Southee and the guile of Daniel Vettori in the line up. Boult is at the top of the charts in bowling with 19 wickets in the 7 matches they have played at an average of 14.63 runs per wicket, strike rate of 20.8 balls per wicket and an economy of 4.21 runs per over. Also he has 14 maidens against his name out of the 66 overs he has bowled in a tournament where batsmen have dominated.
Let us take a look at their performances in the cricket world cup (CWC):
- 1975 : Semi Finalists
- 1979 : Semi Finalists
- 1983 : First Round
- 1987 : First Round
- 1992 : Semi Finalists
- 1996 : Quarter Finalists
- 1999 : Semi Finalists
- 2003 : Fifth
- 2007 : Semi Finalists
- 2011 : Semi Finalists
South Africa has been on and off this tournament with losses to India and Pakistan, the teams they were expected to beat in these conditions, being the low point of their tournament. However, a win in the quarter finals against Sri Lanka has potentially washed away those stains.
Performance in the quarter finals was the kind expected of a South African team who are boasted with the kind of bowlers, batsmen and fielders they have in their team. They won the game by 9 wickets after bundling out Sri Lanka for 133 runs. it was Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott who orchestrated the demise of the batting line and Imran Tahir was benefited by the pressure put by pacers as he took 4 wickets.
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In the batting department it was relief for the Proteas as their out of form opener Quinton De Kock was amongst the runs with score of 78 off 57 balls. However, one area of concern remains for them with Duminy and AB Devilliers expected to fill in as the fifth bowler. With a leg spinner, Imran Tahir, in their team they could be in for a big trouble if he has an off day.
With Hashim Amla, AB Devilliers and Faf Du Plessis in the batting line up they have the wherewithal to put or chase a big score. However, they will be tested against the strong New Zealand bowling line up.
A look at their performances in the cricket world cup (CWC) :
- 1992: Semi-finals
- 1996: Quarter-finals
- 1999: Semi-finals
- 2003: First round
- 2007: Semi-finals
- 2011: Quarter-finals
New Zealand is expected to stick with the extra pace of Adam Milne and is expected to be unchanged for the semi finals.
New Zealand (probable) : 1. Brendon McCullum 2. Martin Guptill 3. Kane Williamson 4. Ross Taylor 5. Grant Eliott 6. Corey Anderson 7. Luke Ronchi 8. Daniel Vettori 9. Tim Soutee 10. Trent Boult 11. Adam Milne
South Africa too is expected to go in with four bowlers and expect JP Duminy and DeVelliers to fill in as fifth bowler.
South Africa (probable) : 1. Hashim Amla 2. Quinton De Kock 3. Faf Du Plessis 4. Rillee Rossouw 5. AB de Villiers 6. David Miller 7. JP Duminy 8. Dale Steyn 9. Kyle Abbott 10. Morne Morkel 11. Imran Tahir
Match is to be played at Eden Park, Auckland where the ball is to be expected to swing and assist the pacers. We might be in for a low scoring thriller and the captain who wins the toss might be in a conundrum whether to bowl or bat first.
Three matches have been played here in this tournament which saw two low scoring thrillers. Australia and New Zealand locked horns here with the latter coming out on top after winning by 1 wicket while chasing a score of 152. South Africa lost the game here against Pakistan by 20 runs while chasing a score of 223 runs.
We saw scores of 151-222-287 in this tournament at this ground. The teams batting second won on the two occasions.
There is nothing to choose between the two teams which is reflected in the odds as South Africa is 1.87 to win the semi final. The odds might favor South Africa slightly but we are going with New Zealand to play their first final with home conditions and batting favoring the co-hosts.