South Africa will lock horns with New Zealand on Wednesday at Edgbaston in their next World Cup 2019 league match. The Proteas will look to avenge their semi-final loss at the previous World Cup that saw them once again going down in a knockout game in an ICC tournament. The Faf du Plessis-led South Africa had a forgettable start to their World Cup. They lost three consecutive games against England, Bangladesh and India. On the other hand, New Zealand are looking solid to progress to the knockout stages. Kane Williamson has marshalled his troops well so far and the Kiwis are yet to lose a game in the ongoing World Cup 2019.
Apart from poor display on the field, South Africa have had to deal with a lot of injuries. Their spearhead Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury while Lungi Ngidi also had problems with his fitness and missed a couple of games against India and Afghanistan respectively.
Just ahead of the clash against New Zealand, the South African camp breathe a sigh of relief as Ngidi was declared fully fit for the match.
"Hopefully this is a real confidence booster for everyone on the team. And there's a little bit of weight that you feel that's off your shoulders now. We need to win every game that we play" Du Plessis told reporters after the win against Afghanistan.
South Africa will need their bowlers to step up to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
A lot will depend on veteran spinner Imran Tahir should the Edgbaston surface offer turn. The 40-year-old took two wickets each against England and Bangladesh, before running through Afghanistan. The Proteas have been mostly done in by their batting but they will take heart from the fact that openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock finally clicked in the previous game.
The pair, alongside du Plessis, will have to navigate their way through a quality seam attack led by Trent Boult.
However, considering South Africa's dismal record against spin and the brown Edgbaston wicket, the Black Caps might consider deploying leg-spinner Ish Sodhi alongside the reliant Mitchell Santner.
New Zealand have a solid batting unit. Skipper Williamson anchored the side to victory against Bangladesh and Afghanistan while Ross Taylor has also been among the runs but the team will hope for openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill to start clicking.
New Zealand also have two destructive all-rounders in Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in their ranks.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Match starts at 3 pm IST.
(With PTI inputs)