New Zealand and South Africa are once again the Semi- finals of World Cup and aspiring to break the jinx!
While New Zealand has been into the semi- finals six times, South Africa has been three times and incidentally both the teams have never been able to reach the finals! However this time, both the teams are confident of breaking the jinx when the two clash at the beautiful Eden Park in Auckland on Tuesday with a hope to end years of pain and near-misses.
The jinx is sure to break because one team is certain to go into the finals but the million dollar question is – which team will qualify to the finals?
Both teams are playing aggressively, playing an entertaining style of cricket and both teams are trying to win key moments rather than not lose them.
However a close monitoring of the two team’s performance reveals that New Zealand has won all the matches and looks fierce; on the other hand South Africa has lost twice in the group matches. Hence the New Zealander’s have an upper edge. Another added advantage to New Zealand is that they are playing in front of a passionate home crowd of 40,000 at Eden Park!
And last but not the least, New Zealand are on the most glorious of runs: nine ODI wins and counting. Each match of this tournament has thrown up new heroes: Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and, latterly, Martin Guptill can be known as the Super Six, while they have had more than a little help from their team-mates.
In contrast South Africa's tournament has not been anywhere near as seamless with the notable group-stage defeats against India and Pakistan, the latter of those at Eden Park. However, their overwhelming performance in the quarter-final against Sri Lanka - their first World Cup knockout victory - has ensured that, at least for a short while, AB de Villiers can experience something his predecessors have not. Winning a crunch game!
Another jolt for South Africa is that when the two teams met in the knockout stages four years ago - the quarter-final - New Zealand won by 49 runs in Dhaka. Thus overall New Zealand thus has an edge over South Africa.
However Proteas captain AB de Villiers discards the past. He said, "It's silly to focus on the match played in the past. I believe if we play to our full potential, nobody is going to stop us in this tournament. We're confident in our abilities as a cricket team. We've played some really good cricket in New Zealand. In the last five ODIs we've come out on top, and that's what we focus on now."
A confident New Zealand Captain McCullum said, "The way we've been playing is pretty exciting, For us to win World Cups in crunch games, we need to remain true to that and I wouldn't expect that it will change on Tuesday."