Desperate South Africa send mixed messages over Black Caps

One of the Proteas insists they have the upper hand against New Zealand, another says the Black Caps are a tournament favourite.

New Zealand will face South Africa in their next World Cup outing in Birmingham on Wednesday, with the Proteas desperate to make up ground on the points table.

With just one win from five games, they know defeat against New Zealand will effectively end their tournament - so allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo is taking the optimistic path in the build-up.

"We've played against New Zealand a couple of times, and I think the last time we were there we won against them at home, so I think mentally we already have that upper hand," Phehlukwayo said after South Africa's first win of the tournament, over lowly Afghanistan.

South Africa have won the two most recent ODI series between the two countries, but New Zealand have often crushed South Africa's World Cup hopes at previous tournaments - including the unforgettable semifinal at Eden Park in 2015.

Hence why fellow allrounder Chris Morris preferred to pour the platitudes on to Kane Williamson's side.

"They are one of the favourites, to be honest," Morris said.

"They have got a really good team. Well-balanced, well-led, and I don't want to call them dark horses because they deserve more than that. They are a really good, world-class team.

"Our disciplines are going to be have to even tighter against them because there's nowhere to hide from those guys. They are that good. They've got a seriously good bowling attack, a seriously good batting line-up. Destructive batting line-up. 

If they get going, they are difficult to stop. We are going to work quite hard in the next few days. 

We will have to be at our best to beat those guys."

Morris acknowledged just how desperate their situation was after losses to England, Bangladesh and India along with a rained-out match versus the West Indies.

"It's pretty simple. We have to win. There's no two ways about it. Captain Faf du Plessis is spot on in saying it's a quarterfinal every time. We have to win. That possibly could bring out the best in us because we know there's nowhere to slip up. Slip up now and we are done."

"The vibe has never changed," Morris said.