"I am assuming South Africa will win if they are not chasing runs" - Aakash Chopra on their 2023 World Cup clash vs New Zealand

South Africa and New Zealand are favored to reach the semi-finals of the ongoing World Cup. [P/C: Getty]
South Africa and New Zealand are favored to reach the semi-finals of the ongoing World Cup. [P/C: Getty]

Aakash Chopra expects South Africa to beat New Zealand if they get to set a target in their upcoming 2023 World Cup clash.

The two sides will lock horns at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Wednesday, November 1. While the Proteas are currently second in the standings with 10 points to their credit, the Kiwis are a rung below them and have two fewer points.

Previewing the game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra picked South Africa as the favorites, especially if they bat first. He elaborated (7:40):

"South Africa have lost just one match. That was actually a proper upset. They lost to the Netherlands. This pitch will suit this team. There will be help for the fast bowlers. Scores are getting chased down easily, the ball is coming nicely onto the bat."

The former India opener added:

"It's an even contest in Pune because both teams will play well. However, I still feel the scales are tilted towards South Africa. I am assuming South Africa will win if they are not chasing runs. If they are chasing runs, the game will become slightly more exciting."
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South Africa have registered emphatic wins in all four matches they have batted first. Their only defeat against the Netherlands came while chasing and they just pipped Pakistan by one wicket the other time they bowled first.


"New Zealand have extremely tough matches" - Aakash Chopra on the Kiwis' semi-final prospects

New Zealand have suffered defeats in their last two matches. [P/C: AP]
New Zealand have suffered defeats in their last two matches. [P/C: AP]

Aakash Chopra pointed out that New Zealand have a tough road ahead to make it through to the semi-finals. He said (7:05):

"They (South Africa and New Zealand) are currently second and third but New Zealand have extremely tough matches. So New Zealand will have to win matches here. You lost the last two matches. You started with four wins, but three of those matches were against the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan."

The cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that England are the only formidable side, on paper, the Black Caps have defeated. He observed:

"You have lost to India and Australia. You have defeated one good team, that's England. Don't know whether England are also good or not. Your next three matches are against South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If you win two out of these three, the job will be done because you are already on eight points."

Chopra reckons New Zealand will qualify at the fourth spot, if not the third, if they reach 12 points. He highlighted the significance of the clash against South Africa, pointing out that they need to win two out of their remaining three games.

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Edited by Vaishnavi Iyer
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