All to play for in decider
by Asher Wilson
DateLine: 26th December 2012
South Africa v New Zealand
3rd T20I 2012
The T20 series between South Africa and New Zealand heads for a decider at St. Georges Park, Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day when the sides meet for the third time in six days.
The T20 series against the Black Caps has taken on some fascinating dimensions following Martin Guptill's single-handed resurrection of New Zealand to make South African captain Faf du Plessis face the embarrassing possibility of a series loss at home to a side considered minnows in the game. Let's take a look at the series decider.
The series has certainly taken a largely unexpected twist and is very much alive and kicking. The Proteas were a touch unlucky in that they had the worst of the conditions to bat and bowl in East London.
As alluded by the captain post-match, the Proteas didn't play a particularly bad game. They seemed to have enough on the board with 165/5 after 19 overs, following a delay due to one of the floodlight towers failing. Half-centuries from Henry Davids and Faf du Plessis formed the majority of the total, well backed up by 33 from 18 balls from David Miller. This resulted in New Zealand being set the total of 169 off 19 overs, a total that should have been far too much for them. However, Aaron Phangiso went for 10-an-over and the other bowlers lacked penetration.
Martin Guptill came out swinging and put the South African attack under pressure right from the beginning, and once he had reached his half-century, was dropped twice by Robin Petersen. These dropped catches proved to be extremely costly and were the biggest mistakes of the day from a South African perspective. They look ahead to Boxing Day knowing they are the better side on the field, but wary of the weight that one individual performance can carry in a T20 context.
Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum has praised the team for their 48-hour turnaround, but the reality of the situation is that the only one to make a significant turnaround in that regard, is Martin Guptill. Sickness led to him missing the first T20, which he turned into a century in the second. The rest of the side contributed little on the day.
Their bowling was pedestrian and failed to look threatening at any stage, and McCullum and Nicol hung around for the Guptill Show but for the most part scratched around for singles. Guptill was ferocious and his innings fully deserved the victory it brought. Guptill cited Ross Taylor in the post-match presentation, hinting that life in the New Zealand dressing-room at the moment may be more tense and divided than ever.
St George's Park in Port Elizabeth has a rich history as a cricket ground, but in recent years hasn't had the type of International exposure as it did previously. The only T20 International played here was back in 2007 against the West Indies, which the South Africans lost in a rain-shortened encounter. There's a small chance of showers in the morning, but for the most part everything looks clear.
South Africa (From):
Richard Levi, Henry Davids, Faf du Plessis(c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Robin Peterson, Quinton de Kock(w), Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn, Justin Ontong
New Zealand (From):
Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum(w/c), Colin Munro, James Franklin, Corey Anderson, Nathan McCullum, Jimmy Neesham, Doug Bracewell, Ronnie Hira, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult, Derek de Boorder, Peter Fulton, Adam Milne, Michael Bates
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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