Room to lift as the real test starts
Match FactsThursday, May 6, Bridgetown
Start time 1330 (1730 GMT)
The Big Picture
The pool stage is over, the minnows have all been swallowed and only the big fish are gliding on to Barbados for the Super Eights. Now, the real test begins. New Zealand and South Africa bring slightly different form to this meeting, with Daniel Vettori's men undefeated against a lacklustre Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and Graeme Smith's group having lost to India and beaten Afghanistan.
Barbados has provided a more lively surface and having played all their games, including the warm-ups, on the slower pitches of Guyana, New Zealand will need to adjust quickly. It might mean a rethink of their tactic of giving the new ball to the spinner Nathan McCullum, who has been a revelation in being named Man of the Match in both their games.
South Africa got through with a comfortable win over the Afghans and had a good chance to get used to Kensington Oval. However, while their bowling was excellent there were some question marks over their batting. Although Jacques Kallis has scored more than 100 runs in the two games, South Africa need him to find the boundary more frequently, while a couple of his colleagues got out to lazy shots against Afghanistan.
Form guide (most recent first)New Zealand: WWTLW
South Africa: WLWLL
Watch out for...
The conditions suited the slower bowlers in Guyana but the first day of games at Kensington Oval proved the fast men will be a handful. That is good news for Shane Bond, who is the quickest of New Zealand's attack and could therefore become their key weapon in the Super Eights.
South Africa will look to Morne Morkel for pace and bounce once again, after he devastated Afghanistan's inexperienced top order on the same surface. New Zealand's batsmen are more adept, but Morkel's height makes him a tough proposition on any pitch that offers him assistance.
Despite the change in venue, New Zealand's coach Mark Greatbatch said it was unlikely they would alter their winning team. There will be some pressure on the top order to perform, after Jesse Ryder was the only man to really fire against Sri Lanka, while opportunities were limited in the shortened game against Zimbabwe.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Daniel Vettori (capt), 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Shane Bond.
The comfortable victory over Afghanistan should mean South Africa also take an unchanged line-up in to their first Super Eights clash. The experiment of Kallis opening with Loots Bosman was abandoned after the loss to India, and Graeme Smith will be expected to walk out first once again.
South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Loots Bosman, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Mark Boucher (wk), 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Roelof van der Merwe, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Charl Langeveldt.
Pitch and conditionsThe first day of action in Barbados resulted in 21 of 34 wickets falling to fast bowlers. Batsmen struggled to adjust to the extra pace and bounce after the slower surfaces in St Lucia and Guyana.
Stats and trivia
- The teams have met in four Twenty20 internationals. New Zealand won the first one, back in 2005, and South Africa have triumphed in the three since then
- During the victory over Zimbabwe, Brendon McCullum became the first man to reach 1000 career runs in Twenty20 internationals and the first man to strike 100 fours
- Daniel Vettori and Graeme Smith are the two most experienced captains in Twenty20 internationals
Quotes"We're going to have to up our ante with our batting. It's going to be a key area."
Mark Greatbatch, the New Zealand coach, wants more from his top order.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.