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Business End Of World Cup Beckons


A high flying South Africa take on Ireland and could send the men in green packing with a win in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Buoyed by a thrilling last-over win against India, the Proteas are beaming with confidence and will be keen on recording a convincing victory to maintain momentum into the knockout stages.

Dale Steyn's performance will have caught the attention of several batsmen, with the paceman's speed and swing the highlights of a performance that saw him move to 10 wickets for the World Cup.

With so many potential match-winners in their side, it is hard to see the Proteas not winning comfortably here.

This Irish side does have plenty of determination- as shown by the shock upset against England only a couple of weeks ago.

Although the Irish have lost to Bangladesh, India and the West Indies, all three losses have been close which will boost the confidence of these men today.

Even if Imran Tahir is fit for this match, it is tough to see Robin Peterson not retaining his place after the stellar performance shown against England.

It would be an unlucky situation for Tahir, who has bowled well so far this tournament; however the Proteas are unlikely to change a winning side.

South Africa (probable): Graeme Smith (c), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne van Wyk, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn

Ireland (probable): William Porterfield (c) Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien (wk), Gary Wilson, Kevin O'Brien, Alex Cusack, John Mooney, Nigel Jones, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin

Graeme Smith will be the man to watch heading into this clash.

After half-centuries in the two warm-up matches and a 45 first-up against the West Indies, Smith has fallen cheaply three times since and needs to convert one of those starts into a big score.

Ed Joyce, who has played international cricket for both England and Ireland, impressed with an 84 against the West Indies and will use this opportunity to underline his allegiance to the Irish here.

If Joyce and Gary Wilson can combine in the middle, the lethal Kevin O'Brien might just add the combination needed to post a decent score.

Veteran seamer Trent Johnston looks in doubt again with his knee injury, which could open the door for Nigel Jones.

South Africa should go to the top of Group B and send Ireland packing here. 

Interesting Statistic: Jacques Kallis needs 55 more runs to overtake Herschelle Gibbs as South Africa's top run-scorer at World Cups.

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