ICC World Cup 2023: Fitness concerns on Latham’s mind as New Zealand targets South Africa’s red-hot batters

NZ vs SA, ODI World Cup 2023: Latham said his side will look to counter South Africa’s batting unit, which has taken the World Cup by storm with its hard-hitting approach.

Published : Oct 31, 2023 15:37 IST , Pune - 2 MINS READ

New Zealand began the World Cup in stupendous fashion, winning its first four games quite comprehensively. But the Kiwis have since hit a roadblock, losing to India and Australia, with the latter defeat coming in a high-scoring thriller.

Kiwis skipper Tom Latham chose to see the positives from his side’s narrow defeat against its Trans-Tasman rival, on the eve of New Zealand’s match against South Africa at the MCA Stadium here on Wednesday.

“It was an amazing game of cricket, obviously disappointing to come out on the wrong side of it. But I think if you look at the game as a whole, we did a lot of good things really well.”

“We were put under pressure by the way Australia came out to bat. But I think we were able to pull ourselves back into the game and put ourselves in a position to win the game,” said Latham.

The Kiwis, who have been without Kane Williamson – due to a fractured thumb – are now sweating over the fitness of key pacer Lockie Ferguson, who suffered an Achilles injury against Australia.

“We’ve got a few guys who need to get through a few fitness tests and I guess once we train, we’ll have a clearer idea of what the 11 looks like. So, fingers crossed that all of them can get through a bit of work today at training and be ready to go tomorrow,” added Latham.

The 31-year-old also spoke about how his side will look to counter South Africa’s batting unit, which has taken the World Cup by storm with its hard-hitting approach. The Proteas have scored 6.88 runs per over in this tournament, 0.45 more than second-placed New Zealand, while smashing the most boundaries in the competition.

“Like every team, we do our scouting, trying to find weaknesses from a batting point of view from South Africa, who is running pretty hot at the moment. Certainly, wickets are going to be important. And I guess it’s just trying to understand the match-ups as best you can. It’s going to be another great challenge,” said Latham.

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