Ask the world's leading paceman Dale Steyn who will win the 2015 ICC World Cup? The South African paceman feels co-hosts New Zealand are "dark horse" while Australia can be "annoying" with their in-your-face approach.
Steyn spoke to the South African media on Monday and said the 2015 tournament will be different from the one played in India in 2011. India won the World Cup as co-hosts for the second time after 1983.
Steyn will be leading the South African attack when the Proteas tour Down Under to play eight ODIs over an eight-week period to prepare for the World Cup. New Zealand play the Proteas in Mount Maunganui on October 21 and 24, and in Hamilton on October 27.
South Africa are keen to shed their chokers tag. New Zealand upset them in the 2011 quarterfinals and Steyn feels the Kiwis can be a difficult team. "New Zealand are a dark horse team whenever there is a tournament around," Steyn said. "New Zealand are one of those teams that can be nowhere for three years and get to a World Cup and they just suddenly turn it on."
Australia have been a nemesis for South Africa, too. In 1999 and 2007, Australia knocked South Africa in the semifinals and the teams will continue to remain fierce rivals with Steyn holding a grudge against Australia captain Michael Clarke for a sledge during a tense Test series in South Africa earlier this year which the tourists edged.
"We all know Australia are a good team. They're in your face all the time. It's pretty annoying really," Steyn said.
Conditions Down Under should suit the Proteas but Steyn feels the quick and bouncy conditions can be counter-productive as well. "Australia has those big fields, which is quite nice, the two bouncers per over rule really comes into play there, whereas in India with the smaller fields, that's not the case.
"The difference with India though is run rates are lower because the pitches are so slow and as a fast bowler you hit a hard length then it's tough to get away, whereas in Australia and New Zealand the pitches are a lot truer, so the ball can really fly," said Steyn.
"So as a quick bowler you're looking for overhead conditions or some grass in the pitch because if not, you're looking at scores of 300-plus all the time. The batters will be licking their lips."
Steyn points out that "death bowling" in modern one-day cricket is one of the sport's most difficult tasks.
"It's most certainly not as simple as bowling six yorkers in-a-row," Steyn remarked. "You can bowl the perfect yorker and a guy can hit you for four or six anywhere, with the fielding positions and the way guys are getting themselves into positions to play laps and cuts."