Semi Finals time and the teams that qualified are the Big 4! Not at all surprised that New Zealand, Australia and South Africa made the Semis but India look a completely different side and could cause a big upset come Thursday. (More on that game in Thursday’s newsletter)

New Zealand takes on South Africa in what is sure to be a great contest at Eden Park, the ground where South Africa failed to chase 222 against Pakistan in a strange batting performance by the powerhouse nation. It is also where Trent Boult decimated the Australian batting line up. Although small, Eden Park has been a low scoring venue this WC but that is about to change in my opinion. There is no way there are less than 450 runs scored today.

South Africa’s intensity in their Quarter final performance was something beautiful to behold, it appears the “chokers” tag has fired them up in an effort to prove everyone wrong. If they can repeat that intensity they stand a real chance against New Zealand.

New Zealand are a quality batting and bowling unit, their one weakness lies in that there bowlers (especially now that Milne is ruled out) rely on the ball swinging. If the ball doesn’t swing the Kiwis struggle. The batting line up is arguably the best in this World Cup, this was clearly seen in the Quarters when McCullam and Williamson got out early, West Indies thought they had a chance but Guptil is one of the most underrated opening batsmen in the game today. This side has a great mix of anchors and power players with batting experience all the way down the order, you never feel like the Kiwis could get outmatched with the willow.

South Africa has a bowling attack that has an edge over the Kiwis’. Morkel and Steyn provide pace, accuracy and swing with Tahir and Dumminy for some quality spin bowling. Their batting is a bit of an issue though. They are yet to successfully chase a big total and that can be an issue because I can’t see the kiwis getting bowled out for less than 270…

I think I’m going to trade on this game. I’m backing NZ early at $2.20 on matchbook.com for 2 units.  Dependent on the game situation I will be looking at backing South Africa at a similar quote. I have this as a dead even game on paper but I think NZ just have the edge as they are the most consistent team of the two. The confidence level rises to 60% if they bat first.

I think there is some good value in player performance markets. Lines are taken from Sportsbet.

Amla Over 37.5 @ 1.88
AB Over 39.5 @ 1.88
Williamson over 34.5 @ 1.88
B McCullum over 36.5 @ 1.88

Think the above are all value, units will be varied dependent on what the pitch looks like in the morning. I think it’s a 300 plays 250 game if NZ bat first and a 280 plays 285 game if NZ chase.
I also really like NZ over 6.5 6’s at $1.68 also from sports bet. Will be looking at taking for 3u if the pitch looks like a batting friendly wicket.

As always happy punting and check twitter before play for all final bets and staking plans.

Andrew Malone
@MaloneCricPicks