Shaun Pollock says New Zealand are the team to beat in the Cricket World Cup but have potential weaknesses in their middle-order batting and death bowling.
Pollock, who played 108 tests and 303 ODI’s for the Proteas and captained them at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, was speaking at Eden Park in Auckland ahead of South Africa’s pool match against Pakistan on Saturday.
The aggressive nature of New Zealand’s play had put them as top dog in the tournament, Pollock said.
‘I actually said before this tournament started I always felt the top four were Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. Those should be the semifinal candidates,’ he said.
‘But I think New Zealand are being the most aggressive, especially from a captaincy perspective, the way [Brendon] McCullum has gone about his business.’
According to Pollock the New Zealand bowlers had backed their captain up.
‘They have been impressive. I can understand why the New Zealand public are pretty cock-a-hoop about their performances.’
New Zealand needed to look across the pools and see who they might face in the knockout phase.
Pollock hoped New Zealand would face South Africa in the semifinal at Eden Park.
‘If everything goes to plan it should be [that way], the prospects of which are quite exciting. It is more of a challenge for South Africa because of the fact that it will be a home game.
‘I wasn’t here for the Australia game, but I hear the vibe was absolutely amazing. People had never heard that kind of noise coming out of Eden Park before.’
The ideal situation, Pollock joked, would be for South Africa to beat New Zealand in the semifinal and play Australia in the final.
He said New Zealand had weaknesses the Proteas could exploit.
‘You are always going to be looking at batting depth,’ Pollock said.
‘The funny thing, in the way they have played, not many of the middle order have had to contribute, so that might be a slight worry for them.’
Both teams had game-changing players, he said.
‘New Zealand has the likes of [Tim] Southee, [Trent] Boult, McCullum, and if they perform well, then the team wins,’ he said.
‘South Africa has got people like [Hashim] Amla, [AB] de Villiers, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel. South Africa maybe had a slow start, but it is all about timing it right for the knockout phases. That will be the key.’ – stuff.co.nz