March 1, 2017
Start time 2.00pm local (0100GMT)
Jeetan Patel adds another spin option for New Zealand © Getty Images
The Big Picture
New Zealand need back-to-back wins to extend a run of eight home series victories in a row – a ninth would put them alone in second place, behind South Africa’s gargantuan 17-series streak which stretched from 2002-2009. Speaking of South Africa, while one win will give them this series, they also need to take both matches to hold onto their No. 1 otherwise Australia will yo-yo back to top spot.
First thing’s first. They’ll be keen to wrap up the series in Hamilton, not least because it would give them the chance to rest the odd player, specifically Kagiso Rabada, from the final match ahead of the Tests. Although their results have flip-flopped in the series, the scale of their victory in Wellington will test New Zealand’s resolve.
A deciding match, at Eden Park which carries history for South Africa, would be a terrific end to the series. For that to occur, New Zealand will have to bat much better. Martin Guptill’s return will help but aside from him, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor question marks remain over the others.
All eyes will be on the surface. The pitch used for the first match of series turned appreciably although a next door strip will be rolled out this time. New Zealand three specialist spinners, South Africa two? Five in a match in a country where seam normally rules. Surely not.
(completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand LWLWW
South Africa WLWWW
In the spotlight
Martin Guptill has not batted in the middle for almost a month, but there is an expectation that he can give New Zealand’s top order a punch it has been missing. But his record facing South Africa is his weakest against anyone he has played regularly with an average of 22.07 from 14 innings. He does have a century, though, and it came in his last but one innings against them to help level the 2015 series in South Africa. A repeat would be gratefully received.
David Miller hasn’t got going since his return from the finger injury he sustained against Sri Lanka. He has twice fallen to spin – edging Ish Sodhi’s googly and flicking Mitchell Santner to midwicket – which is likely to be a key element of this match. Coupled with JP Duminy’s own issues of converting starts, it has made South Africa’s middle order slightly less daunting than it could have been. But that can change quickly.
New Zealand need to work out how to fit in Luke Ronchi. That makes Neil Broom, who has had three failures in this series, vulnerable with both allrounders, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme, having had backing from Mike Hesson. Three frontline spinners would appear unlikely, especially as Tim Southee’s off-cutters proved effective last time in Hamilton, although Jeetan Patel could play ahead of Ish Sodhi to target the left handers.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, Dean Brownlie, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Jimmy Neesham, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Ish Sodhi/Jeetan Patel, 11 Trent Boult
South Africa have tweaked their pace attack throughout the series. If they want to bring in left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, the most vulnerable could be Wayne Parnell who, while not being poor, has been the least consistent seamer
South Africa (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Wayne Parnell/Tabraiz Shamsi, 9 Andile Phehlukwayo, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir
Pitch and conditions
This match was originally scheduled to be played in Napier, but they lost it following the abandonment against Australia and subsequent investigations which showed serious problems with the outfield. The previous pitch in Hamilton spun so much AB de Villiers said it was the toughest conditions he had faced. It may not turn quite so much this time, but should still aid the spinners. There is the chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday which could impact preparation, but match day looks fine and warm.
Stats and trivia
- The most overs of spin bowled by New Zealand in a home ODI came earlier this season against Bangladesh in Nelson when Mitchell Santner, Jeetan Patel and Kane Williamson sent down 28.
- If Quinton de Kock makes his sixth fifty-plus score in a row it will set a new South Africa record.
- A New Zealand wicketkeeper hasn’t scored an ODI fifty since January 23, 2015 when Luke Ronchi made 170 not out against Sri Lanka – that’s a span of 40 innings.
“It’s exciting to be back, it’s been a while. We’ve got two games to win so it doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
“We’re always confident going into a game, but never complacent. We know that the Black Caps can come and get a victory over us here, they’ve got all the necessary skill and all the talent to do it.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo