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Ground, hostile crowd biggest challenge for SA: Graeme Smith

Mon, Mar 23, 2015, 03:29 PM
Auckland, March 23 , 2015: Former South African skipper Graeme Smith believes a hostile crowd and a small Eden Park ground will be the two biggest obstacles that his country's side will face when they take on New Zealand in the first semi-final match of the cricket World Cup on Tuesday.

Smith said South Africa will find it difficult to contain the in-form New Zealand batsmen on the small ground.

The distance to the ropes beyond each end of the pitch at the Eden Park is only 55 metres from the centre of the wicket whilst behind the batsman the boundary is only 45 metres away.

"The Eden Park ground may actually be the greatest challenge facing the Proteas on the day. The smaller field aided by a nation swept up in the euphoria of their team's success will undoubtedly serve to disrupt the visiting team," Smith said in a column written for International Cricket Council's (ICC) website on Monday.

"And the Proteas will know they need to settle into a rhythm as soon as possible to have any chance of progressing. Something which was definitely lacking against India."

The former left-handed opener also said the Proteas will be facing a dilemma in picking their third seamer with Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott giving a good account of themselves in the tournament so far.

"The ball has been swinging more in New Zealand than it has in Australia this tournament hence the difficult choice facing the Proteas selectors when deciding on the identity of the third seamer.
Agency: IANS
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