ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
New Zealand v South Africa, World Cup 2011, 3rd quarter-final, Mirpur
New Zealand banish bad memories
March 24, 2011
On Friday, New Zealand return to the scene of their worst recent result to play one of their most important recent games. In October last year, the Kiwis took on Bangladesh in a five-match ODI series, held entirely at the Shere Bangla stadium in Mirpur, and they lost the series 4-0, sparking off a bout of soul-searching and change in management personnel.
Tomorrow they take on one of the tournament favourites South Africa at the same venue for a place in the World Cup semi-final. And New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori believes familiarity with the ground may actually help his side.
"I think that [the 4-0 series loss] is irrelevant now," he said. "This is a quarter-final against South Africa. It's the experience of being here [that we have learnt from]. If you go to a ground in a pressure situation and you've never been there before it takes a while to get assimilated.
"But the guys know the ground pretty well, they're all looking forward to coming back and playing against South Africa. It will be about the quarter-final tomorrow rather than what has happened in the past. We haven't played here during the World Cup but obviously we played here before Christmas. We're relatively familiar with the conditions."
New Zealand's own form in coming through to the quarter-finals has been mixed, the stand-out result being the win over Pakistan in Pallekele. They lost both games to the group's other strong teams Australia and Sri Lanka comprehensively. But Vettori believes if his side can replicate the batting performance against Pakistan, they have a good chance of going through.
"If Pakistan had been the last game then we would've come here pretty confident the way we played," he said. "But our last performance was against Sri Lanka and we're disappointed with the way we played there.
"Hopefully we can look back on that game [against Pakistan] and try and bring that to the table. That really is the model to try and win ODI games. We've got to build those partnerships and let our aggressive guys attack at the end. If we do that then we give ourselves an opportunity."
Even if they do that it won't be easy against a side who are most people's favourites to win the whole tournament. South Africa lost the solitary game - a thriller to England by six runs - f as they came out top of Group B. "They've obviously played some very good cricket and been one of the form teams in world cricket for a long time," Vettori said. "They're going to be a huge challenge. We know they've got good players up and down their order. But it's about what we do tomorrow. If we can play well, we give ourselves a chance. If we don't against a team like South Africa it's going to be tough."
New Zealand will be boosted by the return of Vettori, having missed the last two games with a knee injury and Brendon McCullum is also expected to tough it through a continuing knee problem.
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