New Zealand vs South Africa: Third ODI Preview

Batsman Defends

Westpac Stadium will play host to New Zealand and South Africa in the third One Day International. 

South Africa’s magnificent 12-match ODI winning streak finally came to an end in Hamilton as New Zealand claimed a six-run win in Christchurch on Tuesday.

The sides will now take stock before heading to the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, where the hosts haven’t tasted victory since 21 March 2015.

New Zealand vs South Africa | Saturday 25 February | Westpac Stadium, Wellington | 02:20

To Win Match
New Zealand 27/20 | Tie 35/1 | South Africa 62/100

New Zealand 
Everything South Africa got wrong in Christchurch, the Black Caps got right. Ross Taylor went on to get the big score (102*) and was excellently supported by Kane Williamson (69) and Jimmy Neesham (71*). It was Taylor’s innings in the end that probably won the match as the Wellington-native scooped himself the man of the match award.

He joins an elite group of players who have scored ODI centuries against all full-member teams. Other players on that list included Ricky Ponting, Herschelle Gibbs, Sachin Tendulkar, Hashim Amla and Virat Kohli – not bad company to keep.

Taylor will be looking to replicate the innings in his home town. His ODI record at the Westpac is incredible. He’s played nine innings, scoring 347 runs at an average of 86.75. If there are to be fireworks in Wellington this weekend, expect Taylor to be at the centre of the storm.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee will look to restrict and under pressure South African top and middle order while Ish Sodhi will need to provide the wicket-taking imputes. Indeed the South Africans have battled on the New Zealand surfaces. The seamers will once again look to use the surface to strangle the batsmen. If they can stop the flow of runs, they’ve got every chance of going 2-1 in the series.

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South Africa
Spare a thought for young Andile Phelukwayo. The 20-year-old all-rounder was forced to hang on to the strike after Dwaine Pretorius was dismissed on the last ball of the penultimate over. We won’t go into that last over too much, but I like how he took responsibility in the situation.

Truth be told, the job should have been completed by the rest of the top and middle order. Every one of Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers and David Miller got good starts without going on to capitalise as Taylor did for New Zealand.

It was the same story a few days earlier in Hamilton where nobody in the top six managed to put on a big score. Again it was left to Phelukwayo to pull the match out of the fire with sixes in each of the last two overs. Although his partner at the other end was the vastly experienced de Villiers.

There is more than enough talent in that top six to get the job done. Faf du Plessis seems to have lost the Midas touch he showed against Sri Lanka and Australia while the consistency that defined Hashim Amla’s career seems to have abandoned him.

It’ll come down to the batsmen again this weekend. The Westpac Stadium isn’t the biggest ground in the world so we can expect to see the seamers go for more than six an over. De Kock has proven his worth with back-to-back fifties while Miller and du Plessis need to come good on these two-paced wickets.

Verdict: South Africa 62/100
Despite the middle order inefficiencies in the first two ODIs, I still fully believe that this South African side can go on to win this series 4-1. If one or two more of the guys in the top six can convert their starts to bigger scores. There’s enough ability to get the job done, it just all depends on how the pitch plays and how well the New Zealand seamers make use of the conditions. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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