Proteas upbeat against New Zealand in a 'dead' tie

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has insisted his side will be at full strength for their World Twenty20 group game against New Zealand.

updated: June 09, 2009 08:16 IST
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South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has insisted his side will be at full strength for their ICC World Twenty20 group game against New Zealand even though it is a 'dead' tie.

Both Test teams have assured their qualification out of Group D after contrasting wins over minnows Scotland.

And with their second phase Super Eight programme already mapped out for them, there is no reward in terms of an 'easier' draw for the winners of Tuesday's match at Lord's.

But Arthur still intends playing his strongest team against the Black Caps, having seen South Africa start the tournament with a 130-run thrashing of Scotland - a side that gave New Zealand a scare before succumbing to a seven-wicket loss in a match reduced by rain to seven overs per side.

"Everybody is 100 per cent fit," said Arthur at the Oval here on Monday.

"We will be playing our full side. We know what our best combination is.

"We want those guys to play together more and more and to get more and more confidence for the bigger games that lie ahead.

He added: "We want to win, we want to win convincingly and take that confidence forward. As much as winning is a habit, losing is a habit and we certainly don't want to be losing any games.

"We might have a little odd tweak in our batting order to give a guy who we know is going to have a crucial role through the tournament a little more batting time but that's all."

New Zealand are set to provide a more accurate guide to the Proteas' potency at this tournament. But for the second match in a row they could be without captain Daniel Vettori.

The left-arm spinner was due to undergo a scan later on Monday on the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Scotland game and, with little riding on the outcome of the South Africa clash, seemed unlikely to be risked at Lord's.

"I think Vettori is a big loss. I'm not sure if he is going to turn out tomorrow (Tuesday)," said Arthur.

"He is a major bowler in this form of the game, he is right up there with the best in the world.

"Conditions are showing that spinners are going to play a major role through the competition, so New Zealand with Vettori in it is a really good unit.

However, Arthur was quick to stress that, even without Vettori, New Zealand still had several other "game-breakers: "Brendon McCullum is really dangerous, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor offer a huge amount with the bat."

In the meantime he said no-one in the South African camp was getting carried away with the scale of their victory over Scotland.

"I said to the guys it was a solid performance," Arthur recalled. "We expect to win well against those sorts of teams. There are going to be a lot of sterner tests coming our way in the next couple of weeks."

Stand-in Kiwi skipper McCullum agreed with Arthur that the absence of Vettori would be a blow to the Black Caps.

"Hopefully with 36 hours between games he will be fit," McCullum said.

"But we are all fingers crossed that we get such a good player, and our captain, back for the next game and the duration of the tournament."