Smith's form has put pressure on Amla

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 25, 2011 05:29 hrs

South Africa are definite favourites. I can't see New Zealand beating them. South Africa are the best all-round team in the competition. Whether batting or bowling first they are very strong and I don't think they need to do too much. Their basics are in place and they have plenty of depth.

I don't think it will make much difference whether South Africa play three spinners or two. They certainly don't need three, even though it gives them more options. With two fast bowlers in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, a solid medium-pacer in Jacques Kallis, and two front line spinners, they are set.

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For back-up they have JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis. Playing three spinners means dropping du Plessis and I don't think South Africa want to do that. Their batting needs to be strong and so letting go of a batsman to accommodate a third front-line spinner makes no sense.

Imran Tahir has been very impressive. He brings control to the bowling attack and doesn't bowl a lot of bad deliveries. He spins the ball and is an attacking legspinner. He's not in the side to restrict runs, he's there to take wickets and he has done so consistently.

Robin Peterson has also turned out to be a very important figure, both with ball and bat. Whether he or Johan Botha plays is a moot point because South Africa will either way have four frontline bowlers. They don't need five.

New Zealand will be glad to have Daniel Vettori back. They need their captain to deliver as well as Nathan McCullum. New Zealand haven't opened the attack with spin too often and I don't think they should try to in a knock-out situation. We all know how Graeme Smith has been struggling and there's no need to allow him to get back into form by playing spin.

Stick to what other teams have been doing to keep Smith quiet - bowl straight, don't give him room outside off and don't stray onto his pads. Smith has had enough troubles with straight-up seam, so New Zealand should stick to that.

As I've said earlier, Smith's form has put pressure on Hashim Amla to score faster. He's been forced to try and increase the scoring rate and that has often led to his downfall. In that regard, South Africa need a lot more from Kallis. While this South African side hasn't been dependent on two or three players, they will really hope Kallis turns up for the big occasion.

Earlier, South Africa had the likes of Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald along with Kallis who were key players. Then, the attack was pretty one-dimensional but now South Africa have depth. Their spinners are effective and that has created depth. The fact that these spinners can bat is a big bonus. This is the most balanced and most dynamic South African attack we've seen in years.

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New Zealand's top order looks pretty settled but it's in the middle order that they lack punch, similar to South Africa. Compared to South Africa's middle order, New Zealand have much more experience with the likes of Scott Styris and Jacob Oram.

But the problem is that neither allrounder has done much in the World Cup. Once a side gets past the top four they fancy their chances of getting through the middle order pretty easily. New Zealand have to get more out of Styris, Oram and James Franklin.

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