Your essential guide to the fourth ODI between the Proteas and the Black Caps on Wednesday.
The Proteas returned to their supreme best in the early hours of Saturday morning, as they crushed the Black Caps by 159 runs to go 2-1 up in the series. It’s an advantageous position to be in, for they only need to win one of the next two matches to clinch the series. With just five ODIs to go before the Champions Trophy begins however, they’ll be thinking more about getting their combinations right and finding some individual form ahead of the global showpiece in England.
The defeat in the second match might well have been a blessing in disguise for the South Africans, as the pressure of maintaining that record-equalling 12-match win streak is off their shoulders. Another moniker to consider is the No 1 spot in the rankings, in which they will need to win 4-1 to hold on to ahead of Australia. New Zealand are looking to maintain a proud streak of their own, as they are aiming to make it nine series victories in a row at home.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Martin Guptill: The opener will provide much-needed firepower at the top of the order for the Black Caps, who have not seen that in Tom Latham, with a top score of seven from his last six knocks. Guptill doesn’t have a good record against the Proteas, so he will be out to rectify that and give them the good start that the hosts have been lacking.
JP Duminy: With a big tournament coming up, will Duminy continue to be backed despite his poor form? He hasn’t contributed nearly enough in the top six, with his last fifty coming against Australia in October, but one big knock will alleviate the pressure. He’s had plenty of opportunities to score big, and it has to come in one of the next two matches. Otherwise Farhaan Behardien will start to consider himself extremely unlucky that he has to keep watching from the bench.
The sides return to the scene of the first ODI, where AB de Villiers said it was the toughest conditions he ever faced. While it won’t be quite as slow and spin-friendly as the match which saw the Proteas edge to that 12th consecutive victory, it will still be conducive to turn, and the Black Caps will be musing over the selection of veteran spinner Jeetan Patel, while Tabraiz Shamsi will likely get a go in place of Wayne Parnell.
New Zealand: 1 Dean Brownlie, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson (c), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Luke Ronchi (wk), 6 James Neesham, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Ish Sodhi/Jeetan Patel, 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 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi 11 Imran Tahir
New Zealand: LWLWW
South Africa: WLWWW
– The most overs of spin bowled by New Zealand in a home ODI was 28. This came in the third ODI against Bangladesh in Nelson when Mitchell Santner and Jeetan Patel completed 10-over spells and Kane Williamson completed eight overs.
– The last time South Africa faced three spinners against New Zealand was in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final. The Black Caps successfully defended 221 and skittled the Proteas for 172 to advance to the semi-final.
– Quinton de Kock stands the chance to score the most consecutive fifty-plus scores by a South African if he hits another half-ton in Hamilton. He currently sits level with Kepler Wessels on five. If he hits his sixth fifty, he will sit tied in second on the all-time list with Kane Williamson, Mohammad Yusuf, Mark Waugh, Andrew Jones and Gordon Greenidge. Javed Miandad sits in first with nine consecutive 50s.
– New Zealand has gone 40 innings without a wicketkeeper reaching an ODI fifty. Luke Ronchi was the last wicketkeeper to do so on 23 January 2015, in the fifth ODI against Sri Lanka.
– David Miller (138 not out) holds the highest score by a South African at Seddon Park, which came in a Pool B match against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup. He sits behind Matthew Hayden who holds the highest score on the ground, when he set his career-best 181 not out against the Black Caps in 2007.
Martin Guptill on his return: ‘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.’
Kagiso Rabada’s opinion on the clash: ‘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.’
Russell Domingo on resting Rabada: ‘It’s hard to leave KG out of the next game in Hamilton, he’s a seriously good bowler and it’s no coincidence that when he’s back in the mix we look like a different side.’
Mitchell Santner about utilising spin at Hamilton: ‘If it is going to spin we’ve got good options, but Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi are handy, too. 250 might be a good score.’
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Gallo Images