Mirpur: New Zealand are all set to take on a rampaging South Africa in the third quarter-final of the World Cup on Friday and skipper Daniel Vettori hopes his side would draw inspiration from their win over Pakistan in the league stage.
New Zealand scored a morale-boosting 110-run win over Pakistan in Pallekele on March 8 following a late blitzkrieg by Ross Taylor.
Taylor`s unbeaten 131 helped New Zealand post a total of 302 against the Men in Green, with 100 of those runs coming off a destructive last five overs.
The 32-year-old allrounder Vettori, returning to the side after nursing a knee injury, wanted his `top-five` batsmen to continue in the same fashion.
"Batting will be the key to our success. 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 then we have a chance in this game," Vettori told reporters here.
"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," he added.
Keen to make it to their sixth World Cup semifinals, the Black Caps` bowling attack has been boosted by the return of injured Vettori and paceman Kyle Mills.
Vettori strained ligaments in his right knee against Pakistan and missed his side`s final two group games, while Mills had a calf strain.
Brendon McCullum has also recovered from a knee injury and Vettori said the hard-hitting batsman is 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," he said.
Out of their five World Cup meetings against South Africa so far, New Zealand have won three but Vettori said past results will not matter much.
"South Africa has been one of the best teams in world cricket for a long time and they have played really well in this tournament.
"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, it’s going to be tough," he said.
On whether he would like to bat or bowl if New Zealand win the crucial toss tomorrow at Sher-e-Bangla stadium, Vettori insisted he would prefer to bat first.
Pakistan bundled out West Indies for a paltry 112 in just 43.3 overs after electing to bat first at yesterday`s first quarterfinal clash and then overhauled the target with 29.1 overs to spare.
"We are familiar with the conditions. 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," he said.
Putting special emphasis on team`s fielding, he said, "Fielding is crucial against top teams. You give your bowlers a chance if you are good on the field. We have some good bowlers and there is no reason to why we can`t pull things if we stick to our game plan."