WC 2015 exclusive: We will play India in the final, says former SA cricketer Dave Callaghan

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Bengaluru, March 23: The man is not only known for his unbeaten 169 against New Zealand at the Centurion in Mandela Trophy in December 1994 (it is still the highest by a South African against New Zealand in one-day internationals), he is remembered for his iconic victory over the deadly cancer. The 169 was in fact his first innings after he recovered from the ailment.

World Cup Special; Semi-final Schedule

Meet Dave Callaghan, the South African batsman who had played 29 tests between 1992 and 2000, and was a member of the great South Africa Schools side of 1983 called the Albatrosses. Callaghan's cousin Justin Kemp has also represented South Africa in cricket.

dave-callaghan

Oneindia had a chat with Callaghan, 50, who now works in a bank and also runs a cricket school in Port Elizabeth, a day before South Africa takes on New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2015 at Auckland. India and Australia will play in the second semifinal at Sydney on March 26. The final is on March 29.

Oneindia: Can South Africa beat New Zealand in the semifinal tomorrow, given New Zealand's home conditions unbeaten form?

Callaghan: Yes South African can beat New Zealand, if they come out firing with the same venom as they did against Sri Lanka in the quarter-final. New Zealand have been very successful because they have got a very good bowling line up and taken early wickets.

We need to do the same to them and we have a more experienced batting line-up. Taking early wickets is going to be the key.

The home conditions will also be a pressure for the Kiwis for they will be aware of the Law of Average.

Oneindia: Will Imran Tahir can be a trump card against New Zealand?

Callaghan: He will be because he isn't easy to score off and if he strikes, New Zealand will be under a lot of pressure.

Oneindia: But SA have felt pressure batting second as was seen against India and Pakistan. Any reason for that?

Callaghan: We haven't had good starts in those two matches and with both de Kock and Amla getting out early, the middle-order had come under a lot of pressure.

Hopefully it will be better against New Zealand. It's important for Amla to hold the batting together.

About de Kock, I am not to sure off at the moment. He likes the ball coming onto the bat and plays very square of the wicket. On the smaller grounds in New Zealand, this could be good for him.

Oneindia: Best 4 teams have made the semis in this World Cup?

Callaghan: Yes, they are the best 4 sides.

Oneindia: Is AB de Villiers SA's best-ever captain? Or was Hansie Cronje even better?

Callaghan: AB is still in his early days. His personality is different from that of Hansie. Both are, however, well-suited for the teams they captaining. The team we have now is a far more talented one and AB fits in as its captain. Hansie's side had relied more on hard work and team spirit to get themselves through games.

Hansie himself was a brilliant team-man and had led by example on and off the field (training and work load)

I don't know AB that well as a captain, but he is more relaxed and leads by example on the field. He is suited for this era because they play more and play all over the world in various tournaments. Its about getting the happy medium with all the different cultures and players with different work loads.

Oneindia: Your champion in this edition (objective answer expected)?

Callaghan: Tough one, but I am sure about SA winning it. We will play India in the final.

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