Jacques Kallis, the South Africa vice-captain, has warned that Australia's unbeaten record in the World Cup will count for nothing when the sides meet in the semi-final in St Lucia on Wednesday.
"They've played some very good cricket in this tournament, being unbeaten, while we've had a few hiccups along the way," Kallis said. "But now it all doesn't mean much. There's all the hype before the game but carrying your points through doesn't count for anything in a semi-final. It's a game where whoever produces the goods on the day will win."
Kallis said both teams would go into the match with high expectations. "They'll carry a lot of confidence through because of the way they've played but we're also confident after a massive win against England," he said.
"There's no need to stress the importance of the game. It's important that we stay relaxed and calm. From our perspective the trip to the Caribbean has been a positive thing. We've had some pressure situations, like when we faced possible elimination in the match against England. We've had some other close calls to deal with and we've managed to stay calm throughout."
Kallis is one of four survivors from the dramatic tied semi-final against Australia in the 1999 World Cup at Edgbaston, along with Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs. All four said after a team practice on Saturday that they believed the experience of playing in that game would have positive benefits.
"From our side we gained a lot of experience in that game," Kallis said. "Looking back there are a few things that we might have tried to do differently so the experience we've carried around for all these years will probably stand us in good stead."
Pollock said he was looking forward to the challenge of trying to contain or dismiss Australia's hard-hitting top-order batsmen. "We've had some close encounters against Australia and we've learnt from those," Pollock said. "It's the kind of challenge that you want to play cricket for. You want to come up against the best and if you can win the battle it gives you real satisfaction. "
Gibbs said there was no pressure on the South Africans. "Our backs were against the wall [before the game against England]. Now we're just going to go out there and enjoy it."