Smith cautions Proteas against taking New Zealand lightly

March 24th, 2011 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 24 (IANS) South African skipper Graeme Smith thinks his boys have to be at their best to get past “streetwise and streetsmart” New Zealand in their World Cup quarterfinal here Friday.

Smith said the Black Caps bat deep with power hitters at the top of the order, apart from having quality spinners in Nathan McCullum and skipper Daniel Vettori.

“We just got to prepare as best as we can and come out and play hopefully our best game tomorrow. The same way we have done in our round robin games,” Smith said at the match-eve media meet.

“New Zealand as a team has always been streetwise and streetsmart. They have always played well to their abilities. And have always got lot of guys to contribute. So you have always got to respect them and we need to play well to beat them,” he said.

South Africa hold a 30-17 win loss record against New Zealand. However, New Zealand lead 3-2 in five matches played between the two sides in World Cup.

Smith said they have quite a few batsman in their line-up who can change the game.

“I think the thing about New Zealand is that they contribute all the way down. They have lot of guys who can contribute and really take the game to you. You can never take any guy for granted in their line up.”

On whether South Africa would be looking for an extra batsman, with fit-again AB de Villiers likely to double up as wicketkeeper, Smith said “We obviously need to decide how we are going into the match tomorrow. Whether we are going with an extra batter or not or an extra bowler. We will assess the situation tonight.”

With all their players in good form, the South Africans are spoilt for choice, and Smith is very happy about that. “Selection has always been tough. It is getting tougher as guys perform well. It is an ideal challenge to have guys who are all performing well.

“And you have got a good squad of players to pick from. That’s ideally what we wanted coming to the World Cup,” he said.

Asked about the wicket, Smith said it had sporadic grass, little more than what they faced in the last match against hosts Bangladesh.

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