New Zealand and South Africa clash in the fifth and decisive ODI at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday 4 March when a rollercoaster series will be decided.
It’s been a see-saw series in many ways. New Zealand and South Africa provided a great spectacle of sorts in the four ODIs so far. The score line (2-2) tells the story of the series which has been very tight. Will the Proteas narrate a different tale this time around at the venue of their ignominy?
New Zealand v South Africa 5th ODI Preview
Martin Guptill’s unbeaten 180 at Hamilton underlined his importance for the Kiwis in colored clothing. In his injury induced absence, the maximum score any opener could muster for the Kiwis in the first three ODIs was 34.
All that will count to nothing as both teams will treat this match as the big final. On line for the Kiwis is their proud unbeaten record of eight home series wins in a row. And the sight of Eden Park – the place of their famous World Cup semis victory over South Africa – brings confidence too.
Jeetan Patel’s impressive showing at Hamilton may win him a spot for the decider while Trent Boult and Tim Southee will look to banish their expensive spells as an aberration. Imran Tahir’s success in the T20I earlier on the same ground may prompt a thought of including Ish Sodhi.
It’s no secret that the World Cup loss still hurts the Proteas. De Villiers was straight forward with his assessment that his side would love to bury the ghosts of that loss once for all. And the occasion is perfect too, with the series win coming as the icing on the cake.
What’s frustrating for the South African captain is the inconsistent displays of his side. Batsmen have been guilty of wasting their starts throughout the series. Had it not been for De Villiers and his rear guard action, they would have lost the series by now.
With the ball, New Zealand have been able to keep Tahir quiet by playing out his overs sensibly. For a bowler ranked no. 1 in this format, a return of just four wickets in the ODIs is meagre.
New Zealand v South Africa Stats
South Africa have a love-hate relationship with Auckland. They have played eight times here winning three, losing four with one match abandoned.
De Villiers has a bitter memory of the previous loss to New Zealand at Eden Park but otherwise his record here is noteworthy. He scored 151 runs in three innings having been dismissed only once with a strike-rate of close to 140.
Guptill has fond memories of Auckland too having scored 735 runs in 14 matches at an average of 67. He has three consecutive fifties here, as well.
New Zealand v South Africa Line-ups
New Zealand may stick with the same eleven while South Africa will ponder hard about Tabraiz Shamsi.
New Zealand v South Africa Odds
Will the flip-flop results continue? South Africa at odds of $1.67 (Ladbrokes
) start as favorite while the Kiwis are offered odds of $2.30 (bet365
Guptill’s cracking score at Hamilton should give confidence ahead of the series decider. Can he do an encore? Odds of $3.80 (bet365
) are being offered for him ending up as the Kiwis’ best batsman.
New Zealand v South Africa Tips
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