BIRMINGHAM – Win or bust! That’s the Proteas’ straightforward challenge against New Zealand at the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
South Africa’s World Cup hopes hang by the most slender of threads after a disappointing start to this 2019 campaign that included three consecutive defeats.
The Proteas have to win their remaining four games to have any chance of progressing to the playoffs.
That task is an almighty one, considering they face an in-form New Zealand team whose only blemish on an otherwise 100% record at this World Cup is a washed-out game against India.
Equally, the Kiwis have enjoyed the upper-hand over the Proteas at World Cups for a long time now.
South Africa lost a dramatic semi-final to the Black Caps four years ago at Auckland’s Eden Park, which followed on from a “choke” in the quarter-final against the same opponents back in 2011 in Dhaka.
In fact, South Africa’s last World Cup win over New Zealand was here at Edgbaston in Birmingham 20 years ago.
Kane Williamson’s team is renowned for being “street-wise” at these multi-nation events.
South Africa, meanwhile, often relent under the pressure when the spotlights are turned on.
It is rather strange, considering the Proteas regularly dominate the Black Caps in bilateral series between World Cups.
Even wicket-keeper/batsman Quinton de Kock doesn’t understand this odd phenomenon, although he is confident South Africa can get the job done at Edgbaston on Wednesday (11.30am SA time start).
“I think if I knew, I would tell you. To be honest, I don’t know,” De Kock said.
“But it’s a clean slate. We’re not worried how many times they’ve beaten us at a World Cup, or how many times we’ve beaten them in a bilateral series.
“We are ready to go out there and give it our best shot.”
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