About the Match
New Zealand had their perfect home season spoiled by the loss to South Africa in the only t20 and would be hoping to exact some revenge in the ODI series. The Proteas have stated that they have some ‘unfinished business’ in this country and are out to make a statement.
1st ODI Preview
Not much went right for the hosts in the t20 against South Africa, but not too much should be read into that performance. Recovering from a poor start can be hard in a t20 match. The ODI format provides much more time for ebbs and flows in the game and this is why we believe the matches will be much more evenly contested.
New Zealand is coming into this series on the back of an impressive 2-0 series victory against the then number 1 ranked team in the world, Australia. It should, however, be remembered that the Aussies were without some of their best players for the series.
The hosts will also be missing Martin Guptill, their best ODI batsmen by far, for this entire series. We think that Kane Williamson and the reinvigorated Ross Taylor will be New Zealand’s best batsmen for this series.
Ross Taylor has been in the middle of a public storm somewhat as questions about his exclusion from the t20 team continue to raise eyebrows. We think this added motivation to score runs will propel him to have an excellent series.
What New Zealand seem to be lacking is a power hitter in the lower middle order. Jimmy Neesham and Luke Ronchi are probably going to be tasked with playing this role but we doubt how consistently they will perform against top quality bowling lineups. Cory Anderson and Colin Munroe were two options that New Zealand had but did not pick for this series.
It could turn out to haunt them against a powerful South African lineup.
The bowling for New Zealand is much more settled and we think that Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Mitch Santner will form the lineup with Neesham doing the fifth bowlers job. We would advise backing Matt Henry to be the top wicket taker in this match
ahead of Boult and Southee.
It is a testament to South Africa’s talent pool and domestic set up that they continue to have world class players jostling for space even after losing some top quality names to Kolpak deals. The current team is on the cusp of equaling their best ever ODI winning streak and looks to be peaking perfectly for the upcoming Champions League.
The South African batting is fearsome with Amla, de Kock, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy and Behardien followed by very capable all-rounders like Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, and Phehlukhwayo. In fact, even Rabada, expected to play this match and bat at number 10 is no sitting duck.
There is literally no limit to what this batting lineup can achieve on the small grounds of New Zealand and we think that 350 is on the cards every time South Africa bat first. New Zealand might try and counter this batting lineup with a green pitch but that would be exposing its own batting against the formidable South African bowling as well.
Any one of South Africa’s top order can score big runs but we are backing du Plessis to continue his impressive batting form
along with big scores from de Villers and J.P Duminy.
Chris Morris has looked a little down on pace since his return from injury but he, Parnell and Rabada will form a very potent fast bowling attack for South Africa. Back Parnell to make most of the conditions on offer and be the highest wicket taker among the seamers, although it is Imran Tahir who we think will take the most wickets in the match.
Tahir is the top-ranked ODI bowler in the world and is in excellent form. De Villiers will use him as an attacking option in the middle order as well as the death overs when picking his googly might be difficult.
Seddon park, Hamilton is expected to be hit with some showers that could change the dimensions of the game, however, we think a high scoring match is on offer irrespective of the number of overs they eventually get in.
Back South Africa to win