After an intriguing T20 series, which South Africa snapped from the grasp of New Zealand in the last over to win 2-1, we now cast our eyes to another three-match series, this time in the 50 over format of the game. The momentum will be with the Proteas following the T20 series win, and they will be looking to inflict more suffering upon the home team. Don’t miss out on what is bound to be another perplexing series of events.
South Africa stole the last of the T20 games from right under the noses of their New Zealand counterparts. It looked like New Zealand’s day from about mid-way through the Proteas innings, after the wicket of Duminy. South Africa looked on course for a possible 180-200 runs before the wickets of Duminy and De Villiers stunted the innings, and South Africa landed up with a total of 165, which would be a tough total to defend. New Zealand started flawlessly and already had over 100 up at the ten over mark. This required a further 60-something runs from them in the final ten with 8 wickets in hand, essentially the game was won. This was until Jesse Ryder decided he needed to push a single to bring up his half-century, and proceeded to use up 7 deliveries in the process. Indeed when he was on 48, he only added another 4 runs in 13 balls. Ryder’s selfish misjudgements led to pressure, New Zealand somehow wasting their lead. With 7 needed off the last over, youngster Marchant De Lange bowled flawlessly up until the last ball, where 6 was now needed. How New Zealand had come to be in this position, no one could answer. De Lange then bowled a no-ball, gifting the Black Caps another chance at victory, them now needing four of the last delivery. But it was not to be. The New Zealand meltdown was complete and the Proteas took the series. Let’s hope the ODI’s can produce as much exciting cricket.
|Who ate all the pies: Jesse Ryder is hungry for runs |
and just plain old hungry.
A change of format usually brings about a change in personnel. This is no different for the South Africans, with youth making way for experience. Stalwarts in Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn return to the squad and bring much needed experience to the South African camp. The return of Smith means the exit of Richard Levi, despite his record-breaking innings. Levi will be bred mainly as a T20 player for now, and will be starring in the MiWay Pro 20. IPL contracts are also being discussed, and this bodes well for Levi, as IPL is probably the closest you will experience to the level of international T20 cricket. Smith showed a return of form towards the end of the Sri Lankan tour, with a half-century and a century and will be looking to carry this form forward. Kallis was given a rest from the end of the Sri Lankan tour and so will come to New Zealand fresh and rearing to go. Steyn is also coming off of a rest and will be eager to get among the wickets again. De Villiers’ captaincy has proved effective so far, and he will be desperate to add an away ODI series to his fast growing collection of accolades. The South Africans have a one-day team that, on paper, will strike fear into the hearts of most opposition. They will be looking to enhance this reputation with a win against the Black Caps in Wellington on Saturday.
Although the Black Caps will feel demoralised having thrown away an easy victory, they will look back into the not-so-distant past for inspiration. The last ODI between these two nations was the World Cup quarter-final, and we all know how that turned out. A good innings from Ryder got New Zealand to a defendable total and fielding pressure and accurate bowling took its toll on the South Africans, resulting in a batting collapse. However, the playing field has changed. New Zealand have about only half of the same players available for selection, while South Africa has an almost identical squad. Injuries have forced Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor out of the series, and these two will be sorely missed. Oram ticks most of the boxes with his all-round talents and Taylor is the new captain, chief of the middle-order. The player New Zealand will miss the most however, is Daniel Vettori, who has retired from limited overs cricket. On the positive side, Martin Guptill is in the form of his life and will be eyeing out three-figures whenever he walks to the crease. Ryder seems to have recovered well and despite the end of his innings, played fluidly. New Zealand will need to perform as a unit, as they did in the World Cup, to beat a formidable South African side.
The first ODI will be hosted at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. A bit of a traditional low and slow New Zealand wicket that the slower bowlers might enjoy in the middle overs. Watch for teams opening the bowling with a spinner. Looks like there may be rain in the evening, so also watch out for a shortened game.
BEST BET: Top New Zealand Batsman, Jesse Ryder 9/2
Big Jesse loves scoring runs against the South Africans almost as much as he loves pies and binge drinking. His waistline is evidence for the latter, and his record against the South Africans, more than evidence enough for the former. Back him to provide a sizeable contribution to the middle-order, both in weight and in runs.
VERDICT: South Africa 11/20
Although the New Zealanders have built quite a reputation as being the bogey team for the Proteas, I don’t seem them causing too much trouble for the visitors this time around. South Africa have looked shaky at times but have probably been better than New Zealand in all aspects so far on tour. Back a Protea victory.
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Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!