Wellington: Two of the strongest contenders to win next year's Cricket World Cup, New Zealand and South Africa, begin their preparations for the tournament Tuesday in the first match of a three-match one-day international series.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers said as World Cup co-hosts, New Zealand had to be regarded as one of the leading contenders to lift the trophy next March. New Zealand has also reached the semifinals of the world tournament on seven occasions: a record matched only by co-host Australia.
"Winning comes first," said the South African skipper. "We want to win as many games of cricket as possible leading up to the World Cup. We know that there is a lot more value to winning games than experimenting and trying out different combinations."