By Niall Anderson in Birmingham

With absolutely no margin for error, South Africa are treating their Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand like it's an elimination game.

An essential approach, sure, but not one which comes with the backing of history, nor particularly fond memories. As you may recall, the last two times South Africa played a World Cup knockout game against New Zealand, well, things didn't exactly to go plan for the Proteas.

But, if South Africa are to keep their World Cup hopes alive come Wednesday, then they will need their bowlers to step up – and one of them is concocting a plan which he hopes can deliver the knockout blow.


Lungi Ngidi has recovered from a hamstring injury to be ruled fit to take on the Black Caps, and the 23-year-old seamer could make a significant difference to an attack that already features the world-class duo of Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir.

Ngidi has taken 37 wickets in 20 ODIs at an average of 22.6, with three of those scalps coming against England in their World Cup opener, before he hobbled off against Bangladesh.

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi has a plan to attack the Black Caps batsmen. Photo / Getty
South Africa's Lungi Ngidi has a plan to attack the Black Caps batsmen. Photo / Getty

He had to watch on from the sidelines as South Africa slumped to their worst World Cup start, with just three points in five games, not helped by the late withdrawal of seam spearhead Dale Steyn with a shoulder injury. However, Ngidi believes the Proteas' bowling attack is starting to click, having rolled Afghanistan for 125 in their last outing.

"[Chris] Morris and Rabada have been leading the attack very nicely, with the inclusion of Beuran [Hendricks] now we've got a bit more pace as well, Andile [Phehlukwayo]'s been spot on – the guys have been hitting their lengths very well. Testing a batsman's technique is what we're good at as South African bowlers – if we stick to that we'll do as well as we expect ourselves to do," analysed Ngidi.

Add in the dangerous spin of Tahir and the Black Caps should be in for a serious examination of their technique, especially with Tahir potentially being a major factor on a brown Edgbaston wicket - one that won't favour the seam bowlers as much as the green wickets the Black Caps benefited from in their three victories.

Ngidi is expecting a slower wicket, and is ready to pitch the ball up to the Black Caps batsmen – a tactic he is hoping can expose their largely untested middle order.

"I don't think their middle order and lower order batsmen have been tested enough – most of the guys are scoring runs at the top of the order. So maybe get one or two [wickets] up front, get their middle order in as early as possible, and I think you could be looking at a different situation when it comes to their batting."

South African assistant coach Claude Henderson believes it won't take anything special to get their campaign back on track, but realises the urgency of their situation.


"We haven't started well, but if we play good, strong, basic cricket, we've got a definite chance.

"When this team gets knocked down, they like to fight back. We've very desperate – it means a lot to everyone within the camp. There's a lot of pride."

They've been in must-win World Cup situations before against the Black Caps, with little success. Perhaps, though, with their bowling plans in place, the third time will be the Proteas' charm.

The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':