The twenty-fifth match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup will witness a unique clash between two traditional powerhouses which have not won even a single edition of the biggest competition there is, in the game; New Zealand and South Africa.
The Kiwis will be favourites to outclass the Proteas in the encounter happening at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
Kane Williamson’s side motored past Sri Lanka in its first match before winning against Bangladesh in a nervy manner.
They then went on to beat Afghanistan convincingly and their last match against India at Trent Bridge was washed out. New Zealand are third in the table as of now.
Meanwhile, South Africa have had a horror start to the tournament as they lost their first three matches against England, Bangladesh and India respectively.
Their match against West Indies was washed out after which they managed to thump Afghanistan by nine wickets.
South Africa are languishing in the eighth position and they would do very well to turn things around against an in-form New Zealand side.
New Zealand (Probable XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (WK), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matthew Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
South Africa (Probable XI): Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir.
Kane Williamson vs Imran Tahir
Williamson is the mainstay of the Kiwi line-up and carries the responsibility of leading the team and the batting line up.
The New Zealand skipper is a prolific batsman and has an enviable record of having amassed as much as 5674 runs from 142 matches. This comes at an average of 46.51 and at a very decent strike rate of 82.30.
Fans could expect the Kiwi talisman to anchor the innings, thus making way for the other batsmen to fire their way through the South African bowling attack.
The South African spinner Imran Tahir has been instrumental for his team so far in this World Cup. The right-arm leggie is a wily customer and is a proven wicket-taker.
From 103 matches, the 40-year old veteran has managed to prise out 170 wickets at a very good average of 24.28.
His economy rate is an exceptional 4.67 even though he is a wrist spinner. Tahir is two wickets away from being the highest wicket-taker in World Cup history for South Africa.
Fireworks are bound to go off in this battle, as this clash might occur when the match is interestingly poised and hence, the stakes are very high.
But we believe that Williamson would manage to avert Tahir’s spinning threat.
Trent Boult vs Quinton de Kock
Trent Boult has been a vital cog in the New Zealand bowling attack over the years. The left arm Kiwi pacer is adept at testing batsmen on all surfaces, and is an excellent fielder.
From 82 ODI matches, Boult has managed to prise out 150 wickets at a good average of 25.03. His economy rate is merely 5.03 and on the lower side, and speaks volumes about his ability and control.
Boult has managed to restrict the flow of runs through one end and has thus paved the way for Matt Henry to attack the batsmen and get wickets.
Quinton de Kock has been one of the best finds in the South African cricket team. The Proteas wicketkeeper has 4788 runs from 111 matches, at 45.60 with an excellent strike rate of 95.40.
The ICC Number 4-ranked ODI batsman will be key if South Africa are to post a good total as the starts he gives often push the Proteas to shift gears and become aggressive.
de Kock has been a lone warrior in the team’s cause and hence this battle between himself and Boult has the potential of being the blockbuster kind. We feel that Boult might have a slight edge though.
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Considering the team chemistry and form of the Kiwis pitted against the unpredictable nature of the South African team, one would only anticipate a New Zealand win by all means.
But South Africa need to win every game from now and they have the capability to defeat anyone on any given day. This makes them dangerous and it is not easy to rule out a South African win.
However, Team Cricwizz predicts that New Zealand would beat South Africa and that Kane Williamson would be the happier skipper at the end of the day.
Rain has not been forecast for the match and this comes as a welcome news for avid cricket fans.
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