South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Twenty20, Durban December 20, 2012

Best chance for NZ youngsters to spring surprise


Match facts

December 21, 2012
Start time 1800 (1600 GMT)

Big Picture

The aim of this Twenty20 series was to provide a different festive spirit, if Cricket South Africa (CSA) are to be believed. They doused the flames of the furore they caused when they cancelled the traditional Boxing Day Test and promised that three T20s in a week would provide more entertainment given the opposition. (Don't tell anyone but they were also hoping for more money, which is unlikely now that the national broadcaster has made CSA settle for a significantly smaller fee).

If ever there was an insult against New Zealand, this was it. South Africa apparently do not consider them worthy enough of a Test series in the Christmas week, although they have given them the privilege of a New Year's match.

A full-strength New Zealand could have objected to that notion, challenging like they did in March: then, they took South Africa down to the last over in the T20 series before Marchant de Lange won it for the visitors. Without their heavyweights, though, whether New Zealand will be able to repeat or better that showing is questionable. Missing in action are Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder, and New Zealand have five uncapped players in their squad; Brendon McCullum and Mike Hesson say they are looking forward to blooding new talent.

They can take comfort in the knowledge that South Africa are in a similar position. Four rookies have been included in the 15-man squad and even the rest are not overly experienced. Of the group, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have played the most number of T20s for the country but both will be rested during the series.

Stand-in captain Faf du Plessis has only just established himself as a regular member of the playing XI while none of the top-order, middle-order or bowling combinations are settled. This is all to New Zealand's advantage and they will want to shock South Africa as the hosts look to build for the future.

Form guide

South Africa LLLWW (Completed games, most recent first)
New Zealand TLTLW

In the spotlight

The much-hyped, recently turned 20-year-old Quinton de Kock will get the opportunity to live up to expectation. De Kock played for South Africa at the Under-19 World Cup this year and has been touted as the long-term wicketkeeping option. He has been inconsistent for Lions but flashes of brilliance have seen him get the nod. In the recently completed domestic one-day cup, de Kock scored one century but none of his other innings yielded more than 41 runs. His talent is not in doubt though.

With New Zealand hoping for their young players to step up, they may have forgotten about the importance of the senior men's contributions. Brendon McCullum will carry the heaviest burden as he looks to unite a seemingly fractured unit, move them past the Ross Taylor episode and ensure they compete against tough opposition. On top of that, he will also have to hold the batting line-up together and will be expected to be his usual explosive self at the crease.

Team news

South Africa could play all four of their new faces in the first match of the series. Quinton de Kock has been confirmed as the wicketkeeper in AB de Villiers' absence. Henry Davids is certain to open the batting with Richard Levi. Although Faf du Plessis would like to bat up the order, his experience will be needed in the middle. Chris Morris will contend for the allrounder's spot with Ryan McLaren while the bowling attack will comprise of two spinners, with left-armer Aaron Phangiso likely to debut, and Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Rory Kleinveldt vying for a place. Dale Steyn will feature in the first match but may be rested thereafter.

South Africa: (likely) 1 Richard Levi, 2 Henry Davids, 3 Quinton de Kock, 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 Farhaan Behardien, 6 David Miller, 7 Chris Morris/Ryan McLaren, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Aaron Phangiso, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe/Rory Kleinveldt

New Zealand have indicated they will not field a similar XI to that which played in the practice match because they will have their experienced players coming in. Martin Guptill is likely to open the batting with Rob Nicol. The main competition for places is among the bowlers: Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell will contend with Michael Bates, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell McClenaghan for spots. Colin Munro, who top-scored in the practice match, is likely to debut along with Corey Anderson and McClenaghan.

New Zealand: (likely) 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Peter Fulton/Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 James Franklin, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Jimmy Neesham/Trent Boult, 9 Michael Bates/Doug Bracewell, 10 Mitchell McClenaghan, 11 Ronnie Hira

Stats and Trivia

  • Brendon McCullum is the leading run-scorer in T20 international cricket with 1656 runs from 54 matches. He is also the only batsman to have scored two T20I centuries.
  • South Africa do not have any of their top nine leading run-scorers in T20 cricket in the current squad. Graeme Smith, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Herschelle Gibbs, Loots Bosman, Hashim Amla and Mark Boucher are not part of the set-up for various reasons. Richard Levi is at No. 10 with 231 runs.
  • Nathan McCullum is New Zealand's most successful T20 bowler with 40 scalps at an average of 17.52. Morne Morkel is South Africa's leader with 39 wickets at 17.84.


"I think the pitch might have changed in nature. Maybe it is not as quick and bouncy as we are used to, maybe it's a little bit slower and the spinners seem to play more of a role. It has also been quite hot, so maybe it will be a little bit drier as well."
South Africa's new T20 coach, Russell Domingo , thinks the Kingsmead strip might not live up to its reputation of being a green mamba

"The psychological advantage is not really there in this format so whoever plays the best cricket is going to win. It's the perfect opportunity to put a young player under pressure and see how they stand up against a Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel."
Shane Bond, New Zealand's bowling coach, believes the shortest format will level the playing field

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Oh Black Caps, what a display. Never seen such a horrific show at elite level. Bravo Brendon.

  • Shipu on December 21, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    @Jordanious77:-"Bangladesh are minnows"??? funny New Zealand are below Bangladesh in ODI ranking table and had Bangladesh got to play enough Test and T20 matches like New Zealand then we would've ranked above you in those formats as well. Minnows don't beat teams like England, India, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka in the past 2 years. Minnows don't thrash world champs by a record 160 runs, minnows don't thrash big teams in a whitewash, minnows don't score more than 290 against big teams, minnows don't chase successfully more than 250 against bigger teams. Cricketing World is changing mate but you will see from 2013 just how much it really is changing hope you're ready :D

  • Joe on December 21, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    The problem with New Zealand is that their current bunch just don't have the quality like past New Zealand players like Cairns, Fleming, Astle, Bond etc infact, the New Zealand team with these players back then use to be ranked 3rd in the world. I'm still sure however that New Zealand will surpass old teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka once they go through a transition.

  • Rakibul on December 21, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    @Jordanious77: "They SHOULD be ranked in the top 3-5. But they aren't... they just simply don't turn up far too often." If they don't turn up far too often, then how can you expect to see NZ in top 3-5? I dont know what everybody's problem with BD...i mean, they played better cricket than NZ, thats why they displaced NZ in the ranking or did they CHEAT their way up there?! Is that what you think Jordanious77?

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @Inducker: I understand what you're saying although it certainly didn't seem to hurt either McGrath's or Warne's stats that they were bowling together along with Brett Lee or Jason Gillespie. I never claimed that Ntini was "winning tests hand over fist". I'm simply pointing out that he took a lot of Test wickets at a more than useful average and, as I'm sure you'll agree, you don't get test wickets just for turning up. It seems that you think that career stats are good enough to damn Tsolekile but not to acknowledge Ntini's value. I agree that stats don't tell the whole story in individual matches or series' but they do give an indication over a career of what a player was worth.

  • Jordan on December 21, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    @the rising team. Thats exactly it, though.

    Bangledesh are minnows, a team people don't expect to do anything but end up surprising on occasion.

    The black caps are a team people assume will play well, but just simply don't. When we win people say "finally... Now do it again" When bangledesh win, they don't have the pressure to keep preforming because they simply arent as good. people don't expect them to win so when they do its a welcomed surprise.

    the problem people have with the black caps is with the players and depth they should be playing well. They SHOULD be ranked in the top 3-5. But they aren't... they just simply don't turn up far too often.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    NZ are far better team than Bangladesh. Not to forget, they won a test match against Australia last year in their home ground. They just need to play more cricket in Asian pitches and need better spinners!

  • Shipu on December 21, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    @Jordanious77:-"weakened blackcaps side" no excuse it was still a strong team which included players like Daniel, Brendan, Nathan, Taylor etc also our best players we also not involved in the whole series like Tamim and Mortaza ao fair is fair. Fact is minnows somehow defeated a country that had full status way back in 1926 and expected to beat us 4-0 but failed. Don't worry though not the only one as West Indies lost the ODI series to Bangladesh 3-2 all without their best player.

  • Price on December 21, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @Bruce Robinson. The point is quite simply is if you are bowling with Warne and McGrath in your team it is tougher to take a lot of wickets. My question is besides Pollock who was Ntini bowling with? You make it sound as though Ntini was winning tests and series for SA hand over fist which I don't think he was. You are proving to me just what a lot of hyped nonsense stats really are. e.g. in the 3rd test in Australia were AB''s 200 ball 30 and Steyn's 18 ball duck good or bad innings?

  • Shipu on December 21, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    This series should've been 3 ODI matches and 3 test matches. Too much T20 Cricket is not good and less should be played in Non-T20 World Championship years. Test and ODI are the real deal.

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