New Zealand pacer Trent Boult has warned his side not to underestimate "hungry" South Africa as their troubled opponents fight for World Cup survival on Wednesday (June 19).
The Black Caps will go top of the World Cup group table if they beat South Africa at Edgbaston. But the Proteas, with just one win from five matches, know they cannot afford another defeat if they want to maintain their slender hopes of a semi-final place.
"It's a World Cup. It's a funny place to be, I suppose. Obviously, it's a big game for them. It's a must win in their tournament. We've been playing some good cricket, so we're not going to dive into too much of what they've been saying, but, yeah, the boring answer of going out there and just taking them on is probably where I'm leading," said Boult.
"They've got some classy players at the top of the innings. They've obviously had an interesting start to their tournament, so they'll be hungry to come out and perform.
"Like I said, there's been some great games played between us over the years, and I'm hoping tomorrow is going to be another one."
The stakes are not as high as in their meetings at the past two World Cups, with New Zealand winning the quarter-final clash in 2011 and a semi-final showdown in 2015.
Boult has fond memories of New Zealand's run to the World Cup final four years ago and hopes his team can make another strong showing in the current edition.
"There have always been exciting games between New Zealand and South Africa over the past World Cups and past time that we've met each other. 2015, the semifinal at Eaton Park was one of the greatest games that the Kiwis have played.
"It obviously got a lot of attention back home, and it was a cool one to be a part of it. We're looking forward to facing them tomorrow, and I'm sure they're eager and hungry to put in a good performance because it's a big one for them too.
"It's a chance for us to go out there and perform and show we can bring the game and the style that we play back home in New Zealand very well, to test it against quality players in foreign conditions on a big stage, so we can't wait."
When asked about why South Africa have struggled against New Zealand in World Cups, the 29-year-old said: "I'm not too sure. Like I said, they're big games. Whether there's a lot of pressure on them, I'm not too sure.
"For us, we know what works well. For me as a bowler, I'm sure I want to lead the bowling attack as best as I can. If we can do the things that we do well and we know that works well, put some early pressure on and get some wickets, then, yeah, hopefully they feel that pressure a little bit more. So, yeah, we're looking forward to it."
Unbeaten New Zealand have defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan so far in the tournament, with their game against India washed out. The impressive form of Boult and his fellow pace bowlers Matthew Henry and Lockie Ferguson has been key to each victory.
"I think as a unit we've been going really well. With the ball, we've put the ball where we wanted, and we've put a lot of pressure on the teams that we've come against. If we can continue to do it as a unit and obviously give us some lower totals to chase, then I'll be happy."