Proteas road to recovery continues against undefeated-Black Caps
It took them almost halfway into this year’s World Cup to register their first win, but finally South Africa are on the board and are now faced with the gigantic-task of breaking into the semi-finals. It’s now a ‘one step at a time’ approach for South Africa, winning is the only result that can keep their World Cup dream alive. Their opponents are primed for a semi-finals birth, New Zealand’s status in the tournament currently reads undefeated four games into their fixture. Beware the wounded Proteas though, if New Zealand dares to take their foot off the accelerator, they could pay the ultimate price.
It’s the halfway mark of the 2019 ICC World Cup, some teams are gaining ascendancy at the top whilst others have been clinging onto anything they can get a hold of in the lower half of the table. These two teams are two classic examples – New Zealand are like a runaway train, South Africa on the other hand have replicated a faulty light switch that just won’t turn on. There’s still enough time for the Proteas to turn things around, however another loss could just about seal their fate in the competition. A timely match-up against Afghanistan may have just saved South Africa, registering their first win of the tournament by a comfortable-nine wickets at Sophia Gardens. Whether that win proves to be the huge turning point in the World Cup for the Proteas remains to be seen, that doesn’t necessarily bury some troubling signs. Hashim Amla’s sluggish-41 not out off 83 balls followed his current form with the bat, it’s unusual to see a player of Amla’s class struggle as much as he has. Expect New Zealand’s speedsters to target the out-of-sorts veteran at Edgbaston.
With a fast bowling unit that boasts names such as Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, the Black Caps have the perfect bowling attack for these types of conditions in the UK. South Africa could be in big trouble, movement in the air and off the surface could leave them vulnerable despite a line-up full of promising ball strikers. The speculation surrounding Tim Southee’s return to New Zealand’s starting XI is growing by the day, surely one of their finest swing bowlers gets a look in soon? Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi could also be a handy inclusion as some point, however spin isn’t playing a major part for them at the moment. The injury to Henry Nicholls opened the door of opportunity for Colin Munro who has played his part at the top, whether he keeps his spot in the side is still up in the air. a very solid batting line-up on paper if you throw Henry Nicholls into the mix, the Black Caps will still have to watch out for Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada. Tahir demolished Afghanistan with figures of 4/29 off just seven overs.
Proteas seamer Lungi Ngidi is expected to make his return, while Black Caps-duo Henry Nicholls and Tim Southee are also in the mix to feature at Edgbaston.
Top 5 fantasy picks – New Zealand
- Kane Williamson
- Lockie Ferguson
- Ross Taylor
- Trent Boult
- Colin Munro
Wildcard pick – Tom Latham
Top 5 fantasy picks – South Africa
- Kagiso Rabada
- Faf du Plessis
- Imran Tahir
- Quinton de Kock
- Andile Phehlukwayo
Wildcard pick – Aiden Markram
Predicted Team XI’s
New Zealand (possible) – 1. Martin Guptill 2. Colin Munro 3. Kane Williamson (c) 4. Ross Taylor 5. Tom Latham (wk) 6. Henry Nicholls 7. James Neesham 8. Mitchell Santner 9. Tim Southee/Matt Henry 10. Lockie Ferguson 11. Trent Boult.
South Africa (possible) – 1. Hashim Amla 2. Quinton de Kock (wk) 3. Aiden Markram 4. Faf du Plessis (c) 5. Rassie van der Dussen 6. David Miller/JP Duminy 7. Andile Phehlukwayo 8. Chris Morris 9. Lungi Ngidi 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Imran Tahir.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.