Graeme Smith to make New Zealand Saffer
It's the third quarter-final in the Cricket World Cup on Friday morning and I expect the bookies to suffer once again as the favourites South Africa should be far too strong for New Zealand.
The two matches so far have gone in favour of the odds on-sides. Pakistan obliged at odds of 8/15 whilst hosts India came through today's game against Australia at 4/6. If you backed our specially enhanced bet bundle on all the favourites to win then you'll be hoping that Graeme Smith's boy can do the business.
South Africa are 4/11 to make the semi-finals and setup a meeting with either England or Sri Lanka. The Kiwis, who were outclassed against Australia and Sri Lanka in the group stages, can be backed at odds of 11/5 to get a shock win.
South Africa have always looked a major force in World Cups in the past but have a reputation of 'choking' in the big games. Few will forget a bizarre run out against Australia in 1999 costing them a deserved place in the final.
Their form in this tournament has been excellent aside from a blip when failing to chase down a small target against England. While they have always been a solid batting line-up with good pace bowlers but the inclusion of Imram Tahir in the line up, their first attacking wrist spinner in living memory, has added some guile and variation which has led many to believe that they are the Champions in waiting.
Going into the match they are 7/2 second favourites and a final against hosts India could well be on the cards if all goes to plan for both teams.
The pitch is expected to be slow which will suit the spinners on both sides. New Zealand Captain Daniel Vettori is 5/2 to be the top bowler for his side which looks a fair price whilst Tahir can be backed at 3/1 to be the take the most wickets for South Africa.
These two are no strangers to each other having met five times in previous World Cups, New Zealand hold the advantage of 3-2 including wins in the 2003 and 2007 tournaments.
Jacques Kallis enjoys himself against the Kiwis having scored 1385 runs against them in ODI's at an average of over 41. If you fancy him to carry on that fine run you can back him at 4/1 to top score and 13/8 to hit a half-century.
Brendon McCullum is expected to be fit after recovering from a knee injury and if the Kiwis are going to cause a shock they will be looking for him to hit one of his famous swashbuckling innings. He is 7/2 to top score for his side and 2/1 to hit a fifty. When McCullum gets in there are usual plenty of maximums scored so the 11/10 that New Zealand hit the most 6's could be worthy on an investment.
In the bowling department Daniel Vettori will be hoping that Tim Southee is at his best. He has been a consistent performer in the tournament so far with 14 wickets at an average of just 15.07. He is 7/2 to take the most South African wickets.
Graeme Smith will be desperate to lead his South Africa team into the semi-finals and he certainly won't be giving his wicket away. I would back him at 4/1 to top score and 4/11 that his side make it through.
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