ICC Cricket World Cup: New Zealand coach tips Sri Lanka over South Africa
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson suspects Sri Lanka could be too good for South Africa in the opening World Cup quarter-final in Sydney on Wednesday, but much will depend on the toss.
Wellington: New Zealand coach Mike Hesson suspects Sri Lanka could be too good for South Africa in the opening World Cup quarter-final in Sydney on Wednesday, but much will depend on the toss.
There is intense interest in the outcome as the winner will play the victor of the New Zealand-West Indies quarter-final in Wellington on Saturday.
South Africa were one of the World Cup favourites, but have a reputation as chokers. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, were beaten 4-2 by New Zealand before the tournament but have worked their way into commanding form since.
"That's a massive game," Hesson said. "We are on the same side of the draw, so it'll be interesting at Sydney. I think winning the toss and batting over there's generally pretty important if it's going to turn.
"I think Sri Lanka are dangerous in those conditions and South Africa are going to have to play well."
New Zealand assembled in Wellington with Hesson stressing there was more to the West Indies than charismatic slugger Chris Gayle whose batting exploits draw most attention in the Caribbean camp.
"We've got lots of information," Hesson said before taking his bowlers through their scouting report on the West Indies batting line up.
"We won't be spending our time on just one player. We'll be making sure we prepare as well as we can for everyone."
The West Indies believe Gayle, who missed their final pool match against United Arab Emirates after the flare-up of a back complaint, will be fit for Saturday while New Zealand welcomed back express bowler Adam Milne.
Milne pulled out of New Zealand's last match with a shoulder problem but Hesson said he was now "fully fit to take a part in training."
While New Zealand went through Pool A unbeaten, the West Indies were the bottom qualifier in Pool B with three wins and three losses.
But Hesson said the way they comprehensively beat Pakistan by 150 runs showed they were "a dangerous side. "When you think they're down, one of their players comes out and plays an explosive innings or bowls a spell that can take you out of the game.
"Sometimes it's easier to play a side that's a bit more predictable whereas the West Indies on their day are exceptional."