New Zealand will be confident of beating South Africa during their Group 1 encounter © Getty Images
New Zealand will be confident of beating South Africa during their Group 1 encounter © Getty Images

 

By Bharath Ramaraj

 

Mar 23, 2014

 

After beating England via the Duckworth Lewis method (D/L), New Zealand will look to usurp South Africa in their second game at Chittagong in the ICC World T20 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, South African setup would like to forget their loss against Sri Lanka and comeback on track with a victory.

 

In recent times, New Zealand have been in fine form in T20Is. Since England beat them last year in their own backyard, they haven’t lost a single series. However, in the unpredictable world of T20s, form book is thrown out of the window.

 

New Zealand have a fine blend of power-hitters and batsmen, who play with steady perfection. Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor would be expected to fire on all cylinders for New Zealand camp. Brendon in particular, has been in fabulous touch.

 

Their strength though lies in them having a slew of all-rounders. The turbo-charged Corey Anderson along with wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi can thwack bowlers and give the finishing touches to their innings in the end overs. Even Nathan McCullum and Tim Southee can play their part in the end overs.

 

New Zealand have a seam heavy bowling line-up. Southee can swing the new ball late and has a fine bouncer up his sleeve. He can also slip in the yorkers during the end overs. Mitchell McClenaghan with his left-armer’s angle and ability to vary his pace has been amongst the wickets. Kyle Mills is usually a reliable seamer. Nathan is the lone spinner in the side.

 

New Zealand bowlers though, have to raise their game, as in the match against England, they tended to bowl on the shorter side. On slow tracks of Bangladesh, testing the middle of the pitch isn’t the way to go.

 

Their opponents South Africa played well in patches, before losing the game to Sri Lanka. Their pace spearhead, Dale Steyn perhaps wasn’t at his best in the last game. But they will be encouraged by the form shown by Imran Tahir. There is no doubt that Bangladesh tracks help the leg-spinner to make his mark. He can bowl a long hop every now and then, but his deceptive googly skids off the surface and tends to trouble batsmen.

 

The likes of Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and David Miller got starts, but couldn’t capitalise on it in the game against Sri Lanka. The South African think-tank will also be sweating on the fitness of Faf du Plessis.

 

As it at starts at 15.30 BST, the dew factor won’t be a huge factor. The track should be on the slower side with batsmen being able to play through the line.

 

South Africa have generally tended to dominate New Zealand in the shorter forms of the game. Even in the games played between them in World T20s, South Africa have never been beaten by New Zealand. It is an open secret that New Zealand batsmen have been troubled by South African seamers hitting back of a length and giving them no room. But tracks in Bangladesh may just negate that threat of South Africa. In short, New Zealand seem to have a slight edge over South Africa, this time around.

 

Squads:

 

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (c), Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Ronnie Hira, Nathan McCullum, Luke Ronchi (wk), Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Jimmy Neesham.

 

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), AB De Villiers (wk), Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Beuran Hendricks, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Farhaan Behardien, JP Duminy, David Miller, Wayne Parnell.

 

Time: 15:00 IST | 09:30 GMT

 

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

 

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