24 March 2011
Win over Pakistan gives Vettori hope
The New Zealand captain wants his team to take inspiration from the 110-run victory over Pakistan
Daniel Vettori feels batting will be the key to his team's success.
New Zealand scored a stunning 110-run victory over Pakistan in the Sri Lankan town of Pallekele on March 8 following a Ross Taylor blitz on his 27th birthday.
Taylor smashed an unbeaten 131 off 124 with eight boundaries and seven sixes as the Kiwis hammered 100 runs in the last five overs.
The spectacular assault not only convinced Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhar to retire after the World Cup, but also gave New Zealand confidence that they can beat any team on their day.
Vettori, returning to the side after missing the last two matches with a knee injury, wanted his batsmen to continue the same way.
"Batting will be the key to our success," he said. "We played our best game against Pakistan when our batting fired, a guy got through a hundred and there were a couple of crucial partnerships."
"We are at our worst when those things don't happen. Our top five are extremely talented, and if they perform than we have a chance in this game."
"We have got a very good fielding unit and a solid bowling attack and if we can compliment that with a good performance with the bat we are in with a good chance."
"Guys like Ross Taylor and Scott Styris can improve the scoring in the last 10 overs if we have wickets in hand, and then we know we can be dangerous."
New Zealand have won three of their five World Cup meetings against South Africa, including a five-wicket success in the Super Eights round of the 2007 edition.
But Vettori said past results, including a 4-0 drubbing for his own team by Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium last October, will not matter.
"South Africa have been one of the form teams in world cricket for a long time and they have played really well in this tournament," he said.
"It is going to be a huge challenge to beat them. It's all about what we do tomorrow. If we play well, we give ourselves a chance. If we don't against a team like South Africa, its going to be tough."
South Africa topped Group B with five wins from six matches and will start as favourites to qualify for the semi-finals against either Sri Lanka or England.
In five previous tournaments, the Proteas have crashed out three times in the semi-finals, once in the quarter-final and another time in the first round, earning them the unwanted tag of cricket's perennial chokers.
Vettori said hard-hitting batsman Brendon McCullum had recovered from a painful knee and was fit to take his place behind the stumps.
"He is okay and I am progressing pretty well with the bat and ball, so there is no real problem for us," the captain said.
Vettori insisted he would prefer to bat first even though the West Indies were shot out for 112 by Pakistan in Wednesday's quarter-final after electing to take first strike.
"We are familiar with the conditions," he said. "I suppose the wicket will be low and slow and turn a little bit. We are two teams relatively suited to these sort of conditions."
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