The Castle Lager Proteas have hit the reset button as they prepare for their ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Tuesday. The Proteas held their first training session in Auckland on Saturday morning following their euphoric win against Sri Lanka, but know they will have to begin from scratch in order to give themselves a chance of appearing in their first ever World Cup Final.

“To be honest I don’t think it matters,” Kyle Abbott said of their semi-final opposition on Saturday. “We have had success against both teams in the past. We beat New Zealand last year in an away series, came off 4-1 to the West Indies at home so I don’t really think it will make a difference for us. The key thing for us is to reset from Wednesday night and to focus on how we prepare for the game and to take on any opposition who we will face on Tuesday.”

One of the major factors in South Africa’s win against Sri Lanka was the new-ball bowling between Abbott, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. The trio throttled the Sri Lankan batsmen and gave little room for run-scoring. He says he has learnt a lot from the likes of Steyn and Morkel in the way they prepare and how they handle the big-pressure situations.

“I have been fortunate enough that I have taken the new-ball my whole life, even at domestic level,” he said. “Even though we are at international level and at a World Cup it’s not a new thing for me. It’s been more a case of keeping my emotions in check. It’s been an emotional couple of weeks, it’s a huge honour and a privilege playing here, it’s something I have aspired towards for ages. The challenge for me is trying not to get too excited for a game.”

Abbott has been at the back of the pecking order behind Vernon Philander, but has come in with dominant performances every time he has been given an opportunity.

“It’s quite a hard space to be in,” he admitted. “Especially if the team is on a roll and there aren’t many changes and you are just sort of waiting. That’s the hard thing about it but it’s also quite exciting. You can get a gap and you look like a hero, so yes it can be difficult. I’ve gotten a way around it, I make sure that I’m prepared for every game as if I’m going to play so it’s just a case of mentally switching on and going through your processes. You just have to wing it and go with it.”

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