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21 March 201117:31

Spinner Botha happy to take new ball

South African bowler admits that he was enjoying his new role as opening bowler in the World Cup

Spinner Botha happy to take new ball - Cricket News

Johan Botha of South Africa celebrate the wicket.

South Africa off-spinner Johan Botha said on Tuesday he was enjoying his new role as opening bowler in the World Cup and looked forward to doing that again in the quarter-final against New Zealand.

Skipper Graeme Smith raised a few eyebrows when he handed the new ball to Botha ahead of pace spearheads Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the league matches against the West Indies and Bangladesh.

The gamble paid off as Botha removed star West Indies batsman Chris Gayle with his third delivery, and also dismissed Bangladesh number three Junaid Siddique cheaply.

The 28-year-old said his role was to dry up the runs as the pacemen and fellow spinners, leggie Imran Tahir and left-armer Robin Peterson, struck from the other end.

"I am probably doing more of a holding job and controlling the bowling from one side and they have all been taking wickets from the other," Botha said ahead of Friday's quarter-final in Dhaka.

"We three spinners are a lot different from each other. They attack and I keep the runs in check. We also have world-class seamers which gives us a really good bowling attack.

Peterson is South Africa's leading bowler in the tournament with 14 wickets, while Tahir has 12 and Steyn has 10. South Africa topped the tough Group B with five wins from six matches, while New Zealand finished fourth in Group A with four wins.

Botha, however, refused to take victory for granted for his power-packed team, saying the Black Caps were capable of springing a few surprises. "We know we are up against a quality team and if we are not going to be on top of our game, it's going to be a really tough match," the South African vice-captain said.

"Ross Taylor is definitely a key player and so is Brendon McCullum. And Daniel Vettori is obviously a world class bowler. We respect him a lot. But our guys have played spin really well in the tournament and look forward to playing against him again."

Vettori, who missed his team's two previous matches against Canada and Sri Lanka, is almost certain to take the field on Friday.