Your essential guide to the third ODI between the Proteas and the Black Caps on Saturday.
The Proteas can step back into reality now after the Black Caps snapped their record-equalling 12-match winning streak. Dedicated Proteas fans will have to wake up in the early hours of Saturday morning (3am) to watch their side aim to advance to one match away from closing out the series at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
It’s crunch time now for the Proteas. This has been their toughest assignment since their run began against Ireland in September, and they will be looking for their combinations to click, with only six more matches to play before the Champions Trophy starts.
Questions are starting to arise whether the Proteas know what their best combination in the bowling lineup is , but Dwaine Pretorius certainly put himself in contention with a superb all-round performance on Wednesday. With the news that Vernon Philander is fit and aiming to return to the ODI fold in time for the global event, this is the time for the four all-rounders (Pretorius, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell and Andile Phehlukwayo) to show that they belong in the starting XI.
New Zealand: WLWWW
South Africa: LWWWW
Kagiso Rabada is available after recovering from his knee niggle and will probably come back into the side in the place of Wayne Parnell, after Dwaine Pretorius (2-40, 50) stood out with bat and ball in the previous match.
New Zealand will in all likelihood stick to a winning combination, with the two pacemen, two spinners and two-all-rounders balance suiting coach Mike Hesson.
New Zealand: 1 Dean Brownlie, 2 Tom Latham (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (c), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Neil Broom, 6 James Neesham, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Trent Boult
South Africa: 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 Chris Morris, 9 Andile Phehlukwayo, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir
– AB de Villiers needs five more runs to become the fastest to 9 000 (he is on 8995 off 9000 deliveries)
– The teams have played twice at the Westpac: SA won the latest clash between the sides by six wickets in 2013. New Zealand won the first match in 2004 by five runs.
– Tim Southee is the leading wicket taker at the ground with 23 wickets and Morne Morkel is the leading South African with four scalps.
– Brendan McCullum is the highest scorer at the ground with 427 runs and a best of 77. AB de Villiers is the highest South African scorer with 205 runs and has the best score by a Proteas batsman of 106 not out.
– The highest score at Wellington is 393-6. The highest run-chase was was when Sri Lanka scored 312-1 to beat England’s 309-6 in the 2015 World Cup.
Pretorius on the Proteas’ team chemistry: ‘What I like about the setup since I have been involved, is that the team doesn’t rely heavily on one or two players, they rely on everyone to contribute. That has been the key in the last 12 games that we have played really well. The team contributes, it’s not just one or two players, that is the key.’
De Villiers on their loss in the second ODI: ‘Credit to New Zealand, I think they bowled exceptionally well at the end, handled the pressure better than us and that’s why they won the game.’
Tim Southee enjoys the close games: ‘It’s great to be involved in games that go down the wire and, as a death bowler, it’s something you look forward to. It won’t come off every time, but when it does it’s very satisfying – especially in those very close ones.’
JP Duminy on where the Proteas can improve: ‘As a batting unit we understood that nobody in that top six took responsibility. That’s the disappointing part of the result. Especially myself, getting in and not taking it home for the team. That’s something we pride ourselves on.’
Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Gallo Images