Positive spin from Proteas

New Zealand set to risk fitness of skipper Vettori and seamer Mills

Last Updated: 24/03/11 2:54pm

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Smith: will he have to leave out one of his three spinners?

Smith: will he have to leave out one of his three spinners?

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South Africa will lean on spin to turn the World Cup quarter-final clash with New Zealand in their favour on Friday.

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"We are not relying on four, five guys to win us the World Cup"
Graeme Smith Quotes of the week

The Proteas are normally known for their pacemen but it is their slow bowlers who have stolen the show during the World Cup on the subcontinent.

Indeed, such has been the success of Johan Botha, Robin Peterson and Imran Tahir at different times that skipper Graeme Smith could find himself with a real selection headache.

If AB de Villiers is unable to take over behind the stumps again due to a sore back, South Africa will likely have to pick two from three for the game in Dhaka.

Different options

"The thing about our three spinners is they're very different from each other," said Smith. "They've all performed different roles at different times, but worked well together.

"The versatility of the guys has been great. Imran's definitely been the more attacking option for us. To have him in the line-up adds a bit more to me as a captain.

"Robbie (Peterson) has been around for a long time but it is only now that people have started to show a lot of confidence in him as a cricketer. Through that faith and confidence, he's starting to believe more in himself."

Smith admitted he could be left with a tough, albeit pleasing, choice. If, however, de Villiers is able to keep wicket, Morne van Wyk will drop out and all three spinners could then be picked.

"Selection has always been tough and it's getting tougher as guys perform well," he added. "It's an ideal challenge to have players performing well and that you have a good squad of players to pick from.

"We are not relying on four, five guys to win us the World Cup."

Injury concerns

New Zealand have selection issues of their own for different reasons, with skipper Daniel Vettori and frontline seamer Kyle Mills hampered by knee and quad problems respectively.

Both look set to be risked for the knockout clash as the Black Caps attempt to continue their impressive World Cup record against South Africa.

They have won the last two meetings - a nine-wicket triumph in Johannesburg in 2003 being followed by a five-wicket victory in Grenada four years later.

"We've met them in these competitions before and tended to take those matches so this is another opportunity to do that and we're confident in our own ability," Brendon McCullum told www.blackcaps.co.nz.

"I'm hoping we can continue the success we've had against South Africa. If we can continue that and prepare as well as we can we'll give ourselves the best opportunity to replicate those games."

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