The Proteas get their tour of Australasia under way with the first of three ODIs against New Zealand, taking place at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, starting Monday night (SA time).
South Africa have a poor record in New Zealand, but did manage to win their last series in the land of the long white cloud 3-0. New Zealand retaliated by beating the Proteas 2-1 in South Africa during the last series between the two sides.
Under the guidance of Russell Domingo and AB de Villiers, who has rapidly matured as a captain, the Proteas are a far better team than the one who went down to the Kiwis at home. The squad is now a settled one and the players clearly understand their individual roles.
If any more motivation was needed when representing your country, this tour will also provide the South African players with an opportunity to show their worth in World Cup conditions. Any fringe players who put their hands up will almost certainly book their place at the global showpiece in Australia and New Zealand next year.
Players to watch:
The grounds in New Zealand are very small, which will allow the powerful South African batting lineup to continue their habit of posting substantial totals. Faf du Plessis was the best of the bunch during the recent Triangular series in Zimbabwe and he will be eager to continue his growth in the No 3 berth. For New Zealand, Brendan McCullum is the one batsmen who can genuinely take the Proteas bowling attack apart. He will undoubtedly be the key wicket and if he gets going, there will be lots of opportunities for the spectators to get their few seconds of fame by taking a catch in the crowd.
New Zealand go into most ODIs at home as favourites, but South Africa are a team on the up and littered with stars. For this reason, the visitors should be too strong for the Kiwis.