CHITTAGONG - South Africa, which play New Zealand in the first match today at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, are not a team accustomed to taking the opposition lightly. For years now, South Africa have been among the most well drilled and professional units around, and it has set the standards for fitness and fielding in the shorter versions of the game.

That said, a South Africa v New Zealand match lacked the romance of a genuine cricket rivalry, and certainly had nothing on the Springboks v All Blacks rugby fixture. If you put together a pairing of any two of the stronger teams in world cricket, you would be hard pressed to find another match up so shorn of hype and a straight cricket shootout. “We’ve never tackled them on the cricket field,” said Kane Williamson, breaking into a grin, when asked if the cricket rivalry had the same legs as the rugby one. “We have got a lot of respect for them, they’re a very good side in all formats. We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing against some of the best players in the world."

If New Zealand were respectful towards South Africa, the feeling was certainly mutual. “Yeah, they are a tough challenge, definitely,” said JP Duminy. “I guess if you look at the way they’ve been playing the last few months, they’ve come into this tournament with a lot of confidence, so it’s going to be an uphill battle for us, but I’m confident that we have the armoury to give ourselves the best chance. They’re a really good side, especially in the shorter formats, so we’re going to have to bring our A-game on Monday.”

Sri Lanka can’t take Netherlands lightly: Fresh from winning the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka started their World T20 campaign on a positive note. For most teams, the challenge of pacing themselves during a global tournament is a crucial one. You don’t want to play your best match first up, but rather do well enough to put down a marker, and then build on that, growing stronger as league matches give way to the semifinals, and then deliver your best in the final. For the Netherlands team, no such luxury is on offer. After all, its players have played perhaps the greatest game of their lives in the qualifying stage of the World Twenty20 itself, blasting past Ireland in a performance that will not be forgotten for years.

Peter Borrenconceded that the need of the hour was to put some aspects of the Ireland match behind and settle into a more mundane groove. “It has sunk in. It was a euphoric evening. We were on a good adrenalin high but now we have a job to do. We watched Sri Lanka yesterday, they were very good against South Africa. They are a top team, as every team in this group is. It’s going to be very competitive.”

Dinesh Chandimal conceded the skiddy nature of the pitch had not helped Sri Lanka’s brand of cricket. “It was a different kind of a wicket to the ones that we played on during our recent matches here. There was little bit of grass but it didn’t do much to support the seamers. As the ball got older, it was more on the slower side as well.” Sri Lanka, while being the favourite from the group to make it to the next round, was not going to make the mistake of taking things lightly. “Yeah, I watched that match between Ireland and Netherlands.

They played some really good cricket in that game. We're not going to underestimate,” said Chandimal.