New Zealand and South Africa head into the 3rd ODI in Wellington on Saturday all square. Sridhar Bhamidi predicts how the third of five matches will unfold.
Matches between New Zealand and South Africa always keep the spectators on the edge. The current ODI series is no exception. As we head for the third ODI, there is literally nothing to separate them with the results tied one-a-piece. The match at Wellington on Saturday, February 25 could well turn out to be a series deciding one.
Worries at the top for the hosts
It’s been such a series that the Kiwis could easily have been 2-0 up or 0-2 down. Both matches went to the wire as the teams shared the spoils in contrasting manners.
The worries for Kane Williamson start at the top as the flailing form of Tom Latham is a concern. Although his performance as a ‘keeper has been pretty good and gives them an option to include an extra bowler, it’s his runs – or the lack of – that matter the most now.
Martin Guptill continues to be out with injury which could mean no change to the batting order. The experiment of keeping both James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme is giving them runs although their non-usage of bowling quota is a surprise.
A broken unbeaten run
South Africa’s unbeaten run ended at 12 but have enough reasons to be happy about the performances. Andile Phehlukwayo emerged an unlikely hero with the bat at Hamilton while Christchurch saw Dwaine Pretorius almost doing the unthinkable.
What’s of concern though is the inconsistency of top order barring Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers. The Proteas would love to see these two improve their quantum of runs and others chipping in with some.
Kagiso Rabada missed the match at Christchurch with an injury and it remains interesting to see whom he would replace.
Like most other venues in New Zealand the one at Wellington too has seen a fair share of 300+ scores and is a high scoring one. The hosts lost their last ODI against Australia but are fairly good otherwise. South Africa have a record of two wins out of three here.
New Zealand v South Africa line-ups
Will Matt Henry get a game for the Kiwis? He might just sneak in replacing Sodhi while Latham remains in notice period.
Rabada for Parnell could be the swap considering the impact Pretorius had in the last match.
New Zealand v South Africa Predictions
It can’t get closer than this as after two nail-biters the teams are almost stacked together in the betting market. A win for South Africa is tipped at $1.91 (William Hill
) while the hosts are offered odds of $2.25 (Ladbrokes
). The Proteas look a good pick for this game.
De Villiers has been piling up runs slowly without exploding in the recent matches. This could be his chance to do so and at odds of $5.00 (Ladbrokes
) he looks a good punt for top batsman.
Tim Southee likes this ground and 23 wickets in seven matches is a testimony of that. Back him at odds of $4.50 (William Hill
) to be top Kiwi bowler.
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