New Zealand, South Africa target maiden final spot

New Zealand, South Africa target maiden final spot

The World Cup semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa at Eden Park on Tuesday has more at stake than a first final for the winner.

Both teams will hope to banish some unwanted baggage from the global showpiece that has dogged them for years. The Proteas have long worn the tag of cricket’s ultimate chokers for repeated failures in the tournament’s knock-out round.

Their breakthrough quarterfinal win over Sri Lanka, the first in a knock-out match at the World Cup, will quickly be forgotten if they lose in Auckland.

Like their opponents, New Zealand have never been further than the penultimate hurdle,
and want to prove a point to themselves.

The game will be New Zealand’s seventh appearance in the semifinals at the World Cup, and third in succession, while it is South Africa’s fourth since their re-integration into the global event following the end of the apartheid era.

Going by the performances so far in the tournament, New Zealand might seem to be having the momentum, having won all their matches. However, a closer analysis reveals South Africa to be the more consistent side.

India, who take on Australia in the second semifinal on Thursday, head the consistency chart with a performance index of 2.60 after the quarterfinals. The South Africans are in second place, with an index of 2.24, followed by New Zealand (1.93) and Australia (1.90).

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