Proteas have a plan to keep Kiwis, Guptill quiet

2015-03-23 00:00

AUCKLAND — The Proteas will fight fire with fire in tomorrow’s World Cup semi-final in New ­Zealand at Eden Park.

And, said David Miller, they have a plan to limit the Black Caps’ opening batsman Martin Guptill.

Guptill scored 237* in Saturday’s quarter-final against the West Indies in Wellington. It was the highest score ever posted at a World Cup and only the second double ton in the history of the tournament.

New Zealand beat the West Indies by 143 runs, giving them their seventh straight victory in the tournament and their ninth consecutive win on home soil.

Miller yesterday said he had not watched Guptill’s entire innings, but had heard it was “something special”. “It is not every day you get a double 100. He has now had a couple of good innings and that is excellent for him.”

Miller said the Black Caps had no obvious weak points to attack.

“They are playing excellent cricket, are still unbeaten and are the team to beat in the tournament.”

He added that the Proteas have already talked about their strategy and the bowlers have their plans ready for a few of New Zealand’s batters — not just for Guptill.

Miller is also not underestimating for a moment the threat posed by New Zealand fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, as well as their spin bowler Daniel Vettori. This trio have taken a combined 49 wickets in the competition so far.

Southee and Boult, Miller said, are in top form at the moment and the Proteas batters were braced to “limit the damage” for the first 10 overs and then get the scoreboard rolling for South Africa.

He expects Vettori to lead the New Zealand charge tomorrow and said the Proteas are braced for a lot of pressure both on and off the field. “New Zealand will come with a big attack and we will just concentrate to work through the initial pressure and then start a counterattack of our own. We came here to win the cup and that remains our focus. Yes, we have had a few highs and lows, but what happens on Tuesday [tomorrow] is all that matters.”

Miller admitted the Proteas’ game plan will have to adapt after their poor performance at Eden Park, when Pakistan beat South ­Africa by 29 runs using the Duckworth-Lewis system.

“The dimension of the field is something to get used to — especially with the very short straight boundaries and I expect both teams will bowl a bit shorter to counter this,” Miller said.

“The result against Pakistan was anything but good, but we are still confident we can emerge on top,” Miller said, adding the Proteas have been playing consistent cricket for the past 18 months with the guys stepping up when they had to.

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