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Thursday, March 24, 2011

World Cup 2011 - Will South Africa choke vs NZ in QF?

Castrol Index says 190-154. A difference of 36 points between the two teams. South Africa's performance in this edition of the World Cup is clearly illustrated in the Index. They have steamrolled most of their opponents except against England when they succumbed to the pressures of the spinners. Similarly, India had a good chance to knock them over but the lower order pushed the score past the target.

It is very interesting statistic to know that in the last two editions of the World Cup, South Africa have lost to the Black Caps! Will history repeat itself? The only glimmer of hope for NZ is to take the blueprint of their win against the red-hot Pakistan team in the group stage. Ross Taylor played a wonderful knock to hit 100 runs in the last 5 overs to put up a total that was beyond the reach of the Pakistan team. But, that exactly is the problem with NZ - the dependence on Taylor and Brendon McCullum in the batting department. Vettori will make a comeback and strengthen the bowling but that is no match to the might of the Proteas.

Everything seems to be going well for South Africa so far except the blip against the English. The only obstacle that will stop them is not any team but their own history and mental toughness. Will they choke, as everyone in this tournament has been asking their captain repeatedly? Kallis has had a silent tournament by his own high standards. Imran Tahir will make a comeback after injury and mostly finish the match the same way Afridi did against West Indies. It is such a different image of the Proteas with so many spinners and one of them repeatedly opening the attack with Dale Steyn. AB and JP are solid in the middle-order while Amla is steady at the top of the order. Between them, they can set up or chase any target.

My prediction of the winner would be South Africa but Ross Taylor has the ability to prove everyone wrong on his day.
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