We discuss the ten moments of the second ODI that are sure to generate conversation.
Shot of the Day: Faf du Plessis took a liking to the full lengths coughed up by Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham. The latter seamer travelled for a massive six over the long-off boundary, as masterful anticipation and footwork started what a powerful short-arm jab completed.
Delivery of the Day: Vernon Philander will be the first to admit a rank half-volley in the eighth over of the New Zealand innings probably didn’t deserve a wicket, but certainly capped the slew of demands which eventually removed Martin Guptill. The opening batsman accrued one short of a dozen consecutive dot balls, before the pressure ultimately tolled.
Batsman of the Match: This accolade was somewhat of a split vote between Luke Ronchi and AB de Villiers in the series opener, but this time heralds a unanimous decision. Characteristically cool, calm and collected, Hashim Amla’s bounty of talent dutifully walked the talk delivered at the pre-match press conference.
Bowler of the Match: Down on pace on an Australasian pitch more sluggish than most, Dale Steyn remained an ever-present threat regardless. The Proteas required considerably less than the usual 10-over allotment from the spearhead, who fulfilled the role with a proliferation of superb out-swingers throughout.
Fielder of the Match: Du Plessis dropped a tough diving catch at point, but otherwise commanded a genuine presence in the field again. Selfless grass burns on elbows and knees recognised and appreciated, Du Plessis’ team-mates again cherished the numerous saves backward of square on the off-side, which allowed the bowlers to explore some experimental widths.
Milestone of the Day: Friday marked the 16th century of Amla’s outstanding ODI career. That’s as many as Australian Adam Gilchrist and Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene – in a whopping 190 and 326 less matches respectively. One more and the prolific Amla will draw level with Jacques Kallis’ 17.
Fail of the Day: Tim Southee sported high hopes of stemming New Zealand’s capitulation to Imran Tahir and company, but was entirely outfoxed by a near perfect googly. Flatfooted and flummoxed, the aspiring all-rounder seemed a momentary fool as the leg-spinner’s variation sniped through the gaping gate. As an aside, and by no means the mistake of the match, South Africa cannot be accused of lacking killer instinct. The result was a foregone conclusion relatively early in the chase – and they could afford to inadvertently extend the Black Caps’ 10th-wicket stand for the sake of match practice.
Key Juncture: The absence of Ryan McLaren was always going to require some extra overs from JP Duminy – and one other. Du Plessis’ waning leg-spin and De Villiers’ military medium-pace presented the alternatives, with the latter choosing to shoulder the responsibility. His removal of Tom Latham was important, but less so than the sage decision to end the spell there and then – and return Tahir to the attack.
Selection Poser: There is room for David Miller and Rilee Rossouw in the same XI after all, but at the expense of McLaren. The under-resourced bowling department was not really noticed in this match, but South Africa can’t afford to sideline statistically one of ODI cricket’s best bowlers in the last two years – ahead of substantially more taxing fixtures against Australia next month.
Quote of the Day: ‘The Proteas were not very good at the end, but they will still be delighted with the way their World Cup preparations are going.’ – former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels.
By Jonhenry Wilson