New Zealand v South Africa, 1st Twenty20, Wellington February 16, 2012

NZ and SA kick off World T20 plans

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Match facts

February 17, Wellington
Start time 1900 (0600 GMT)

Big Picture

The two marquee contests of the season, Australia v India and Pakistan v England, turned out to be one-sided affairs, so attention will turn to this for the more even battle that cricket needs. One thing that can be established upfront is that both teams are tough, resilient and not afraid of grit and grind, qualities that should make for a hard-fought affair.

Three Twenty20s to kick off the tour may not be everyone's ideal first course but in a World T20 year, these fixtures have some context. South Africa's desire to triumph at the ICC event in September is obvious from the way they have packed 11 T20 fixtures into their schedule before then. New Zealand's is slightly more subtle but given their strong showing at last year's one-day World Cup, they will fancy their chances as well.

Any good contest contains an extra edge, and the memory of the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal will provide that. New Zealand knocked South Africa out in spectacular fashion, a reversal that still hurts the visitors. AB de Villiers made it clear that South Africa were not out to avenge that defeat, but to rather work on combinations and strategies ahead of the World T20. No doubt, if they happen to earn some retribution along the way, they'll take that as well.

New Zealand will use memories of that World Cup game as motivation, knowing they can combine their cricketing shrewdness with clever mind-games in this series. It's how they most enjoy playing the game and they will want to incorporate all of their strengths into the most important event of their summer. With some new faces in their squad as well, they will also hope to find the right combinations ahead of another shot at a major trophy.

Form Guide

New Zealand WWWWL (most recent first)

South Africa WLLWW

Players to watch …

The presence of untapped spinning talent is one of the more notable aspects of new-look New Zealand side. Left-armer Ronnie Hira made his debut against Zimbabwe and impressed in both matches, albeit going for a few runs. He has a good domestic record with an average of under 23 in Twenty20 cricket. The ability of players like JP Duminy against spin is one of the areas for improvement for South Africa, and Hira could play a big role in testing them.

After an absence of three years Justin Ontong will make his return to the South African set-up. He has been an important cog in the Cobras' wheel in all formats. Like Vernon Philander and Jacques Rudolph, he is banking on carrying his experience from domestic cricket into the international stage. Ontong will have to be brutal with the bat, whether or not South Africa get off to a quick start, and will prove a handy spin option as well.

Team news

New Zealand rested Martin Guptill for the last T20 against Zimbabwe as he had a groin niggle but he should come back into the starting XI. Jacob Oram, who had a calf strain, has not recovered fully and will miss out. James Franklin will move back down the order to make room for Guptill at the top. New Zealand may play two spinners in Nathan McCullum and Hira which could leave Andrew Ellis as 12th man.

New Zealand: (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 3 Rob Nicol, 4 Colin de Grandhomme, 5 James Franklin, 6 Kane Williamson, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Jacob Oram, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Ronnie Hira, 11 Kyle Mills

South Africa should have no reason to change the line-up they had in the tour match. The only place that could come under scrutiny would be that of the spinner. Johan Botha played in the tour match but Robin Peterson was preferred during the home series against Sri Lanka.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Richard Levi, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Justin Ontong, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Johan Botha / Robin Peterson, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Rusty Theron, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

The drop-in pitch for this game is expected to be full of runs. The weather is expected to be clear, with temperatures at around 16 degrees Celsius.

Stats and Trivia

  • With 1283 runs from 44 matches, Brendon McCullum is the highest run-getter in Twenty20 internationals
  • New Zealand are ranked second on the ICC's T20 table while South Africa are fourth

Quotes

"You can call it pressure but we are really excited, we want to do well. We are young team and we just want to go out there and enjoy it."

AB de Villiers says South Africa will not be suffocated by expectation

"We know we're going to be judged on how we go in this series… The opportunity to start the series in the form of the game we're quite strong at, is a positive for us."

New Zealand stand-in captain Brendon McCullum hopes the team can build momentum from the T20s for the rest of the series

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Khiladiyon_ka_khiladi on | February 17, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    As I commented before that NZ team is over excited on their victory against Zim and I would be happy to see Black caps on top Only if they proves it against SA..its long way back when Nathan Astel and Fleming used to play but after that NZ team never looked like a top team way behind of that tag always

    would like to see if they make themselves a top team

  • POSTED BY RiscoGrande on | February 17, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    @ajayrcs, if you knew anything about New Zealand you would realise that we are a multi cultural society and all the players in this side who wern't born here have lived here for many years, grown up here and have kiwi accents, what are you on about

  • POSTED BY on | February 17, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    This way SA can get use to the NZ conditions a little better, and by the end at the tour the Test Match will really show which is the better team. Cant wait! Tonights (the 1st T20) Entree of the tour looks very delicous indeed!

  • POSTED BY Matt056 on | February 17, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    On paper SA have the better side, but NZ is very unpredictable at this level, especially against the better teams. I think the form NZ showed against Zimbabwe however will carry on into this T20 series

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | February 17, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Why oh Why do we (NZ) persist with Oram ? He's a good player, but ALWAYS injured, so we always end up bringing in a replacement at the 11th hour, instead of saying enough is enough, and blooding new talent. If Jacob spent less time presenting TV shows, and more time in the gym, he might spend more time in the middle. Very frustrating, as it feels like NZ cricket can't let go of the past. We need to move on from Oram.

  • POSTED BY on | February 17, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    I enjoy the crash-bang cricket but I am glad to see it out of the way early so we can give full attention to the Test series. Either side could win the T20s or ODIs and, as a Proteas fan, I'm not bothered by that. It's good to see a guy like Levi get a chance on tour and I hope he makes an impact.

  • POSTED BY TrickDaddy on | February 16, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    Come on SA!!! Zims big brother will avenge them, one sided contest coming up. NZ in form players like Guptill and MuCullum are minnow bashers and im sure against SA they will be exposed watch what happens.GO SA!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Underestimate New Zealand and it will be a big mistake, No doubt we do struggle against pace, as we aren't exposed to it enough. however Players like Mccullum, Guptil, Nicol etc if they get good bat on ball there won't be enough time for SA to bowl them out in the T20i's let alone keep the run rate lower than 8 , If New Zealand keeps them to under 180 tonight, Im confident we will see an NZ win, GO THE BLACK CAPS

  • POSTED BY blackcapno1fan on | February 16, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Nathan McCullum is the 3rd ranked international Twenty20 bowler, yet he only bowled 2 overs and 1 over in the respective Twenty20's against Zimbabwe.... shouldn't he be used more often?

  • POSTED BY Sombrehombre on | February 16, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    I like how both teams are showing mutual respect, unlike a section of South African supporters on here who trumpet on about how it will be kiwi for breakfast without providing any useful insight into why. This has the makings of a great contest and I am intrigued see how South Africa performs when the pressure is on. That is exactly what NZ will be trying to exert as performing in pressure situations is seemingly one of South Africa's few weaknesses.

  • POSTED BY Khiladiyon_ka_khiladi on | February 17, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    As I commented before that NZ team is over excited on their victory against Zim and I would be happy to see Black caps on top Only if they proves it against SA..its long way back when Nathan Astel and Fleming used to play but after that NZ team never looked like a top team way behind of that tag always

    would like to see if they make themselves a top team

  • POSTED BY RiscoGrande on | February 17, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    @ajayrcs, if you knew anything about New Zealand you would realise that we are a multi cultural society and all the players in this side who wern't born here have lived here for many years, grown up here and have kiwi accents, what are you on about

  • POSTED BY on | February 17, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    This way SA can get use to the NZ conditions a little better, and by the end at the tour the Test Match will really show which is the better team. Cant wait! Tonights (the 1st T20) Entree of the tour looks very delicous indeed!

  • POSTED BY Matt056 on | February 17, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    On paper SA have the better side, but NZ is very unpredictable at this level, especially against the better teams. I think the form NZ showed against Zimbabwe however will carry on into this T20 series

  • POSTED BY Patchmaster on | February 17, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Why oh Why do we (NZ) persist with Oram ? He's a good player, but ALWAYS injured, so we always end up bringing in a replacement at the 11th hour, instead of saying enough is enough, and blooding new talent. If Jacob spent less time presenting TV shows, and more time in the gym, he might spend more time in the middle. Very frustrating, as it feels like NZ cricket can't let go of the past. We need to move on from Oram.

  • POSTED BY on | February 17, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    I enjoy the crash-bang cricket but I am glad to see it out of the way early so we can give full attention to the Test series. Either side could win the T20s or ODIs and, as a Proteas fan, I'm not bothered by that. It's good to see a guy like Levi get a chance on tour and I hope he makes an impact.

  • POSTED BY TrickDaddy on | February 16, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    Come on SA!!! Zims big brother will avenge them, one sided contest coming up. NZ in form players like Guptill and MuCullum are minnow bashers and im sure against SA they will be exposed watch what happens.GO SA!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Underestimate New Zealand and it will be a big mistake, No doubt we do struggle against pace, as we aren't exposed to it enough. however Players like Mccullum, Guptil, Nicol etc if they get good bat on ball there won't be enough time for SA to bowl them out in the T20i's let alone keep the run rate lower than 8 , If New Zealand keeps them to under 180 tonight, Im confident we will see an NZ win, GO THE BLACK CAPS

  • POSTED BY blackcapno1fan on | February 16, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Nathan McCullum is the 3rd ranked international Twenty20 bowler, yet he only bowled 2 overs and 1 over in the respective Twenty20's against Zimbabwe.... shouldn't he be used more often?

  • POSTED BY Sombrehombre on | February 16, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    I like how both teams are showing mutual respect, unlike a section of South African supporters on here who trumpet on about how it will be kiwi for breakfast without providing any useful insight into why. This has the makings of a great contest and I am intrigued see how South Africa performs when the pressure is on. That is exactly what NZ will be trying to exert as performing in pressure situations is seemingly one of South Africa's few weaknesses.

  • POSTED BY slasher on | February 16, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    NZ should win the 20/20, in form players, number two ranking, home conditions, John Wright. and if they get on a roll will win the ODI and get close in the tests. NZ has always been a hard place to tour, and now that they have some talent coming through will be even harder, traditionaly Rugby has had the biggest financial pull for young athletes in NZ, now that Cricket is a viable option (due to IPL) more youngsters will stick with the sport as they have more longevity than in Rugby, The dawn of a new era for NZ Cricket (I hope anyway)

  • POSTED BY paulboizot on | February 16, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    ajayrcs askes why some teams have players who were born in other countries. Two words - globalisation and professionalisation. In the old days, fewer internationals were played as the players had to travel by boat, now they jet around all over the place and people can see the matches all over the world (if they pay the TV company that has bought the rights!). Players used to be mainly amateurs and mostly played for the local side. Now top players can earn big money and play in T20s in various countries. Thissort of change has happened in most sports, although at different speeds. See football for some of the furthest development of these trends. It is true that some teams seem to have more foreign-born players than others - England for example. This also has a lot to do with history - and the British Empire, and the patterns of migration that arose from it. For example, people emigrating to South Africa and then coming back to UK, or their children coming back to UK.

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | February 16, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    I think SA should be very vary of NZ remember the WC knowckout last year ?

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | February 16, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    I think India does not want to be called as part of a marque contest till the time the indian team wins overseas test series in Aus and SA.

  • POSTED BY allieeb on | February 16, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    I think the Proteas are in for a surprise. The Black Caps have a few T20 games under their belt and the Proteas are a bit raw. Check on the rankings list how many games they have played - the least of all the Test playing nations Underestimate the Black Caps at your own peril Proteas !!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Adapt or die.That is what the teams will have to do quickly.As the old adage on paper its SA but the game is not played on paper.It should be a good contest.The fasties are a problem for NZ.

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    NZ without Taylor,Ryder,Vettori and Oram....... would be interesting to see how the new players perform like De Grandhomme,Hira ,Nicol and Ellis performs.....but i wouldn't be surprised if they perform well...... go black caps!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    11 T20Is for RSA? I know of a rule limiting the number of T20Is a nation can play in a calendar year, during bilateral tours to 7.. Have the rules been relaxed, or perhaps, tweaked?

  • POSTED BY satanswish on | February 16, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Prtoeas will crush Kiwis and eat them for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    this aint the all blacks. we gonna whip you black caps!

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | February 16, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    I think this is a far more intelligent approach to test cricket. Play T20 and ODI first and allow form and confidence to build. Excuses are soon forgotten when the test series start. Maybe Oz can learn from this approach. India have been hopeless until now but getting a win which is inevitable lifts everyone in a touring party.

  • POSTED BY worldcupheroes on | February 16, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Everyone knows the spirit of Black Caps. No matter what the result they will give tough resistance in T20's and ODI. J.Ontong will be the man to watch in short format as his cameo will hurt opponents. Test will be dominated by visitors. My guess SA 2 - 1 NZ T20's SA 2 - 0 NZ test

  • POSTED BY Brenton1 on | February 16, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    NZ at home will be tough. I will back SA to win the tests but the ODIs and T20 could go either way IMO.

  • POSTED BY Dr_Van_Nostrand on | February 16, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    3 t20s! What a joke. Play 4 Tests.

  • POSTED BY Tjoeps on | February 16, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    As a Saffer I have a lot of respect for any NZ team, their never say die attitude has carried them across many finishing lines! Love their spirit to fight against all odds... OK, the T20 entertainment is first up.... We all know that one person performing out of his socks can turn a game in this format... To me it's entertainment only, but boy am I going to enjoy the ODI's and Tests, mouthwatering to say the least! Go the Proteas.... Flower power!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    LOL to all the Saffa fans coming on here and saying that this will be a one sided contest. Be prepared to eat humble pie. Black caps are full of confidence and are performing in all areas. Yes, Black Caps are missing a few key players, but with the form and confidence they have taken out of the Zim series, I would not be surprised if black caps win the T20 series 3-0

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    in t20 and odi philander & tsotsobe will murder the blacks

  • POSTED BY jplterrors on | February 16, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Well said zn264 we got the wood over them in the 20-20 and ODIs but the tests mite be a bit closer(2-1 NZ)

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Lets see how the series pans out before you go making claims like that eh Bruisers and Kirstenfan?

  • POSTED BY 30-30-150 on | February 16, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @vivek_khyati - Exactly! How is Oram in the probables if he will miss out since he hasn't recovered fully??

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | February 16, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Are you crazy - this will be the most one-sided series of all - SA are 100 times better than NZ

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    "Jacob Oram, who had a calf strain, has not recovered fully and will miss out". So he is named in the XI? Haha. Also B.McCullum will almost certainly bat at 3 and Nicol open.

  • POSTED BY zn264 on | February 16, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    New Zealand need to play careful cricket on this tour, let's not get too ahead of ourselves just because we beat Zimy with such ease. We need to look to the old heads for a calm and steady approach. We have the skills and agression to get us over the line.

    We know we can chase down any total in T20s, so lets just put them in if the wickets looks like it will hold up well for 40 overs. We have chased down 200 more than once (Aussie a few years ago showed we can do it against a quality pace attack) and we should have no trouble doing against SAs pace attack...a few scoops here, a few flicks here, Guppy over the top, no wakas!

  • POSTED BY vivek_khyati on | February 16, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    how can oram be out of game and also in probables??

  • POSTED BY ajayrcs on | February 16, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    I have just one Question Will i be able to see South Africa, New Zealand, England, West Indies Perfect side (No foreigner like in Indian side) why these team include Non country players is there a under population crisis?

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    It should be Bracewell not Oram in the probable team for NZ. I'm struggling to get my head around this NZ team with 10 genuine bowling options. I want to say its overkill but the top 6 still look strong and with Taylor injured they would probably be the top 6 i would select on batting alone.

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | February 16, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    "attention will turn to this for the more even battle that cricket needs" Hahaha... Mark my words, this will be more one-sided than Aus v Ind or Pak v Eng....

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  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | February 16, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    "attention will turn to this for the more even battle that cricket needs" Hahaha... Mark my words, this will be more one-sided than Aus v Ind or Pak v Eng....

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    It should be Bracewell not Oram in the probable team for NZ. I'm struggling to get my head around this NZ team with 10 genuine bowling options. I want to say its overkill but the top 6 still look strong and with Taylor injured they would probably be the top 6 i would select on batting alone.

  • POSTED BY ajayrcs on | February 16, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    I have just one Question Will i be able to see South Africa, New Zealand, England, West Indies Perfect side (No foreigner like in Indian side) why these team include Non country players is there a under population crisis?

  • POSTED BY vivek_khyati on | February 16, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    how can oram be out of game and also in probables??

  • POSTED BY zn264 on | February 16, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    New Zealand need to play careful cricket on this tour, let's not get too ahead of ourselves just because we beat Zimy with such ease. We need to look to the old heads for a calm and steady approach. We have the skills and agression to get us over the line.

    We know we can chase down any total in T20s, so lets just put them in if the wickets looks like it will hold up well for 40 overs. We have chased down 200 more than once (Aussie a few years ago showed we can do it against a quality pace attack) and we should have no trouble doing against SAs pace attack...a few scoops here, a few flicks here, Guppy over the top, no wakas!

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    "Jacob Oram, who had a calf strain, has not recovered fully and will miss out". So he is named in the XI? Haha. Also B.McCullum will almost certainly bat at 3 and Nicol open.

  • POSTED BY Kirstenfan on | February 16, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Are you crazy - this will be the most one-sided series of all - SA are 100 times better than NZ

  • POSTED BY 30-30-150 on | February 16, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @vivek_khyati - Exactly! How is Oram in the probables if he will miss out since he hasn't recovered fully??

  • POSTED BY on | February 16, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Lets see how the series pans out before you go making claims like that eh Bruisers and Kirstenfan?

  • POSTED BY jplterrors on | February 16, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Well said zn264 we got the wood over them in the 20-20 and ODIs but the tests mite be a bit closer(2-1 NZ)