New Zealand play South Africa in Cricket World Cup on Wednesday
Lungi Ngidi fit for South Africa as they look to inflict first defeat on New Zealand
Last Updated: 19/06/19 11:22am
Fit-again Lungi Ngidi will be hoping to catch New Zealand cold and keep South Africa in the hunt for a top-four spot when the sides meet at Edgbaston in the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
Pace bowler Ngidi injured his hamstring in the Proteas' defeat to Bangladesh earlier this month and subsequently missed the loss to India, washout with West Indies and win over Afghanistan.
But the 23-year-old is poised to return against the Black Caps, who have not played any cricket since June 8 after their showdown with fellow unbeaten side India on Thursday was wiped out by rain.
Kane Williamson's men have seven points from four games, having defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their first three games, and will regain top spot if they beat the Proteas.
The view of many is that New Zealand have enjoyed an easy run of fixtures, although the win over Bangladesh looks a decent scalp considering the Tigers have toppled South Africa and West Indies.
Williamson's side should be tested by the Proteas, though, who scooped their first win of the tournament at the fifth time of asking when they knocked off Afghanistan on Saturday.
Faf du Plessis' side skittled Afghanistan for 125 but batted rather sedately before they knocked off their DLS adjusted target of 127 in 28.4 overs to keep their slender semi-final hopes alive.
South Africa probably need to win all four of their remaining group games to make the knockout stage and if they can see off the Black Caps belief may come flooding back. It would also exact revenge for the Proteas' narrow defeat to New Zealand in the 2015 semi-final.
With Ngidi set to return, fellow seamer Beuaran Hendricks looks likely to make way - the latter was only called into the squad as a replacement for the injured Dale Steyn and was the least effective of the Proteas' pacers against Afghanistan. New Zealand should be unchanged.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Hashim Amla has endured a torrid time in the World Cup so far, having suffered concussion in the first game of the tournament and managed scores of just 13, six and six in his first three matches. The opener spent time out in the middle in the win over Afghanistan, battling to an unbeaten 41 off 83 balls, but did not look at his fluent best.
New Zealand's seamers have all chipped in with match-winning performances. Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham and Matt Henry have all caused plenty of issues for batsmen and with overcast conditions expected and having enjoyed an 11-day break since their last match, the trio along, with Trent Boult, will ask plenty of questions of South Africa.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
Lungi Ngidi on New Zealand's batting line-up: "I don't think their middle and lower-order batsmen have been tested enough. Most of the guys who have scored the runs are at the top of the order. Maybe one or two [wickets] up front, get those guys, get their middle order in as early as possible, and you could be looking at a different situation when it comes to their batting."
Quinton de Kock on how South Africa are treating the game: "We're just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady and play freely. It is a quarter-final, I guess you could say, but if we do win it, then it's another big game again. We know how good New Zealand are playing at the moment. They are a big team in World Cups. They always seem to step up."
Trent Boult on South Africa: "It's a must-win in their tournament. We've been playing some good cricket, so we are not going to dive into too much of what they've been saying, but yeah, the boring answer of going out there and just taking them on is probably where I am leading. I am sure they are eager and hungry to put in a good performance, because it's a big one for them, too."
Watch every match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup live on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup (channel 404), including New Zealand vs South Africa from 10am on Wednesday.