MUMBAI: South Africa savour the luxury of choice before they settle on a team for Friday's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand in Dhaka.
The South Africans have spent the past 10 days in Bangladesh after finishing top of their qualifying group with plenty of time to decide how they will combat the potential threat of the New Zealand top order.
New Zealand possess dangerous strikers of the ball in Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor and a good finisher in Scott Styris as they demonstrated in the group win over Pakistan.
With this is mind, South Africa may go into the match with three frontline spinners to take the pace off the ball and exploit a pitch on which the Pakistan spinners demolished West Indies on Wednesday. AB de Villiers may take the gloves instead of Morne van Wyk.
South African captain Graeme Smith would not be drawn on Thursday when he was asked if a team with the best opening bowlers in the competition might be tempted to give the new ball to a spinner.
"As far as tactical things, I've been thinking about a few things this week," he replied. "We've done some video work, some planning, we'll see what happens tomorrow."
He was, though, prepared to talk at length about the qualities Robin Peterson, Imran Tahir and Johan Botha bring to the team in their contrasting styles.
"The thing about our three spinners is they're very different. They've all performed different roles at different times. The versatility of the guys has been great," Smith said.
"They've worked well together. Imran's definitely been the more attacking option for us. To have him back in the line-up adds a bit more to me as a captain."
Leg-spinner Tahir missed two of South Africa's group matches with a fractured thumb, giving an opportunity to off-spinner Johan Botha who not so long ago was South Africa's premier one-day spinner.
New Zealand will field an outstanding spinner themselves in captain Daniel Vettori, the world's top-ranked one-day bowler.
Vettori, who missed the last two group matches after straining a ligament in his right knee, is a gritty, combative character who has made himself into a genuine international all-rounder.
New Zealanders hate losing to South Africa on either the rugby pitch or the cricket field and the Kiwis have finished on top in matches between the two countries in the last two World Cups.
"I think South Africa have been one of the form teams in world cricket for a long time, we know it's going to be a huge challenge," Vettori said.
"But I think like any captain would say that it's about what we do tomorrow. We can play well and we give ourselves a chance." AGENCIES