The South Africa-New Zealand ODI series stands at an interesting juncture, level at 1-1. The competition fought for attention because of the Ashes and the Sri Lanka-India Test series, which stole the limelight due to the retirements of Michael Clarke and Kumar Sangakkara. The focus will now shift to the deciding encounter. Both teams have had their fair share of problems and successes. With the way things have gone in the series so far, it could be a close contest.
South Africa's batting unit has been good in one match and poor in the other. Morne van Wyk has failed in the opening role and David Wiese in the middle-order has not been able to contribute much. They can, however, be happy with the form Rilee Rossouw is in. One of the major challenges that South Africa has faced in the series so far is their shoddy fielding. A flurry of dropped catches have only hurt their reputation and they will be keen to make amends.
The Black Caps' strength is their batting order, which has performed consistently, although wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi has not been all that impressive with the bat. Ronchi has done a fairly decent job behind the stumps and he will be keen to get amongst the runs. New Zealand were also below par in their fielding in the first game, but they rectified that mistake in the second, edging ahead of South Africa on that front.
Match Date: August 26, 2015Start Time: 12:30 Local time (10:30 GMT, 16:00 IST)Venue: Kingsmead, DurbanWeather: Cloudy and humid with a maximum high of 26 degree Celsius
Kyle Abbott is the only South African bowler, who has not got a chance to play in the series. Kingsmead is his home-ground and the hosts are likely to add him to the side for the third game. It will also be interesting to see whether they opt to include Dean Elgar, who could be a useful addition to the team, although he has not played an ODI since late 2012.
Probable XI: Morne van Wyk (wk), Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, David Wiese/Dean Elgar, Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir
James Neesham had scored a solid 41 in the first ODI, but was dropped from the side in the second as New Zealand tweaked their team. The Black Caps might bring him back for the third game as he also gives them a decent bowling option. Mitchell McClenaghan was replaced by Ben Wheeler in the second ODI, after the former proved to be very expensive. However, since Wheeler failed to do anything of note in the second match, McClenaghan might return.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (c), George Worker, Grant Elliott, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Nathan McCullum, Doug Bracewell, Ben Wheeler/Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne
Stats and Trivia:
If South Africa win the series, they will overtake New Zealand and go to the third spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
South Africa have never lost two successive bilateral ODI series since 2009-10. They had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 last month.
"We're coming on in leaps and bounds. We've got a young group of bowlers and it's great to learn but we also want to win."- New Zealand bowling coach, Dimitri Mascarenhas