South Africa and New Zealand, both eyeing first final, will play their hearts out at the Eden Park, Auckland. New Zealand will chase home glory while the Proteas won’t like to stop at any costs after faltering so many times at the pivotal juncture of the tournament. (Full Coverage| Venues | Fixtures)
Both the teams are laced with big and proven match-winners. So we look at the key battles that this high-pressured game is likely to produce.
Martin Guptill vs Morne Morkel: The right-handed opening batsman has peaked at the right time, with the tournament reaching the business end. Guptill has a century and a double century to his name in the matches preceding the semi-final. Morkel on the other hand is well equipped to extract bounce with his height. How well Guptill counters him with his cut and pulls will define New Zealand’s push for runs in the opening poweplay.
McCullum vs Steyn: McCullum has been the driving force behind New Zealand’s resurgence at the World Cup. He has instilled the sense of fearlessness among his team mates. And the elegant right-hander is expected to bat with the same philosophy on Tuesday. To foil his attack, De Villiers’ go-to man will be undoubtedly Dale Steyn. He is the perfect answer to McCullum’s flare and fire. Steyn can vary his length and can bowl yorkers at will to contain the opener early on.
De Villiers vs Vettori: AB de Villiers has all the shots in his armoury. He can play a reverse-sweep over the head of third-man and can scoop it over the fine-leg. McCullum needs a thinker to out play him and who better than Vettori. Vettori has a calm head and never loses his temperament. This is THE contest to watch out for.
Hashim Amla vs Trent Boult- The left-arm pacer has been the find of the tournament. He uses his angles well and has the ability to sharply move the ball into the right-handers. On the other hand, Hashim Amla has an excellent technique to thwart his in-swingers and the odd one leaving the blade. He can use the depth of the crease to carve away those deliveries towards deep mid wicket and build a solid innings moving into the middle overs.
De Kock vs Southee– These two have a contrasting fate so far in the tournament. While De Kock is just regaining the lost touch, Southee hasn’t quite kept up with his good form after the brilliant spell against England. De Kock is not good when it comes to deliveries moving away from him. Southee must get him out in the initial overs otherwise De Kock can settle and can keep Kiwis busy in the middle overs.