Smith aims to put New Zealand in a spin

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The Independent Online

Only the uncertainties of sport in general and South Africa's historic ability to choke in particular appear to offer New Zealand much prospect of success in the World Cup quarter-final in Dhaka today. South Africa have the best balanced bowling attack in the tournament and have bowled out their opponents in each of their six matches so far. Their batting is solid, deep and occasionally spectacular.

Most of this has been true of South African sides at previous World Cups, when they have usually managed an inglorious exit. But New Zealand seem lightweight and only against Pakistan in the group stages, when the latter part of their innings finished in a blaze of attacking strokeplay, did their batsmen perform collectively.

It is South Africa's unlikely preponderance of spin that will further tilt the match in their favour. Robin Peterson, with 14 wickets, has been a revelation and the leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, who qualified on the eve of the tournament, has added huge flexibility. Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, said: "We can adapt with our line-ups to how the surface plays, we don't just have 40 overs of seam now, we can mix it up and match it.

"Our spinners really believe they can perform well in these conditions and as a captain it's about giving them the right fields and giving them the belief to perform in certain situations." Belief may be the key for South Africa.

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