• NZ vs SA: 5 key battles

    Several head-to-head battles within the war will make for intriguing subplots during the ODI series between New Zealand and South Africa, particularly the opening fixture in Mount Maunganui.
    Brendon McCullum v Morne Morkel
    The stocky New Zealand captain will be tested by the height of the lanky South African’s frame, on a pitch expected to generate plenty of carry. McCullum is well versed on the pull and hook, even when rushed for pace, but must get on top of the additional bounce. Morkel, meanwhile, must ensure a midwicket fielder – and deep backward square-leg – are in place throughout. Winner: McCullum.
    Jimmy Neesham v Dale Steyn
    Promoted to the top of the order ahead of the tried and tested Luke Ronchi and inexperienced Tom Latham, Neesham will face arguably the day’s greatest challenge. McCullum has noted the need for the new-found opener to construct an innings, rather than wield the willow at every turn, but probably doesn’t have the patience or stamina to outlast South Africa’s top-ranked bowler in the longer formats of the international game. Winner: Steyn.
    Corey Anderson v Ryan McLaren
    The showdown of the all-rounders will bring an entertaining dual duel. Anderson is streets ahead with the bat, not necessarily fixed to a position in the order. New Zealand will deploy him as the situation and circumstance dictates, while the Proteas are more intent on having McLaren arrive at the crease at seven or eight. The South African, though, sports plenty more with the ball in hand – and variations will prove important. Winner: McLaren.
    Daniel Vettori v Aaron Phangiso
    Phangiso was quick to publicly admit research on foreign conditions wasn’t a priority – and a maiden tour to the Land of the Long, White Cloud is bound to test the practicalities and the theoretical. He will be entirely tested in an intriguing head-to-head jostle with the veteran Daniel Vettori. The stalwart is returning from injury, but has whipped through wile and guile – on familiar pitches – for a substantially longer period than Phangiso. Winner: Vettori.
    Matt Henry v Rilee Rossouw
    Batsman Rossouw endured a terrible start to international cricket earlier this year, perishing for back-to-back ducks in the triangular series with Zimbabwe and South Africa. Seamer Henry, though, delivered a telling four-for on debut against India. Both remained very inexperienced at ODI level, and are not frontrunners to be named in the starting XIs, but there is no denying the burgeoning talent. Winner: Rossouw.
    By Jonhenry Wilson

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