South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Twenty20, Durban

Best chance for NZ youngsters to spring surprise

The Preview by Firdose Moonda

December 20, 2012

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

December 21, 2012
Start time 1800 (1600 GMT)

Brendon McCullum talks to reporters before the New Zealand team departed for South Africa, Auckland, December 11, 2012
New captain Brendon McCullum will have the dual responsibility of firing with the bat and taking the team forward from the Ross Taylor episode © Getty Images

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

RSS Feeds: Firdose Moonda

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 22, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

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

Posted by TheRisingTeam 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

Posted by EnglishCricket 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.

Posted by Dunwall 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?

Posted by   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.

Posted by Jordanious77 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.

Posted by   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!

Posted by TheRisingTeam 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.

Posted by Inducker 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?

Posted by TheRisingTeam 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.

Posted by THE_MIZ on (December 21, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

@SurlyCynic, look mate the point you keep talking about is the FC average of Thami being 30 but what I keep harping about is his stats for the last few seasons and how he has come a long way.We carried street-fighter Boucher because his reliability behind the stumps and Kuhn, De Kock have much to prove in that regard. @Inducker you keep mentioning the ONE LOOK AT HIM TELLS THAT HE IS NOT QUALITY. support that please. As for Ntini, the lack of a slower ball you keep talking about is important in determining the technique, ability of a batsman? Really? We all agree on De Kock as the future but my issue is why not give a Thami the chance against NZ and then see. If AB gets injured in a big series particularly with his chronic back problems, what will we do? Throw a 20-year old in the deep end and if there's no big score, we bash him? Or rather have an experienced, safe pair of hands. This is an important debate and I've enjoyed the discussion if we don't agree! Thanks chaps

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

I'm enjoying the debate here, guys, and , for the record, I believe de kock shuold get a go in the T20 side but shouldn't be near the Test side for a couple of seasons at least. @Inducker, I don't get your point regarding Ntini's bowling partners. Are you claiming that 10 wickets are always taken every Test innings and somebody has to get them? Of course, that's not true. If it were then every test playing nation would have somebody averaging in the 20s. James Anderson, for example only has a career average of 30 and he has been England's outstanding bowler for the past 3/4 seasons. Ntini has a career average of 28 and 390 test wickets. Spin it how you like, Ntini is one of the most successful fast bowlers of his generation.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Though I don't think New Zealand will win any of the ODIs or Tests against South Africa, they're still a pretty decent Cricket team and even as a Bangladesh fan I still rate them over Bangladesh for now but when these 2 teams meet again next year in a full series this time then we can get the real answers but just have to wait and see...@Htc-Android...Sour grapes? how are Bangladesh overrated when they're not even rated? fact is that these Bangladeshi players are better than you so what's the problem? anyway New Zealand fans very surprised Ross Taylor has been sacked as captain and not playing now, he's too good of a player for New Zealand to miss out, hope he comes back.

Posted by Inducker on (December 21, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

@THE_MIZ. \You put your finger on whyTsolekile would make a hole in the Proteas. One look at him batting and he is DEFINITELY NOT a no7 test player and you can quote stats till you are blue in the face. Ntini had natural talent and great physicial fortitude but boy did he lack tactical nouse and a SLOWER ball particularly in one day cricket. I wouldn't trust him as a selector as far as I can see him. De Kock definitely DOES look like a top player but we still don't know whether he will make it or not.By the way bowling is a zero sum game i.e. there are only 10 wickets in an innings to take. Besides Pollock who else was Ntini bowling with?

Posted by Jordanious77 on (December 21, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Here are the statistics for ODI cricket world cups.

NZ have competing in 10/10 world cups. Has made the semi final of 7 occasions. Played 70 world cup matches, won 40, lost 29.

Bangledesh have competing in 4, the furthest they've gotten is the super 8's in 2007 with a record of 8 wins 17 losses.

At least we have a winning %. There is no way you can say bangledesh deserve to be ahead of NZ, NZ are clearly a better team who have been underpreforming.

Bangledesh have been improving but if they were to face NZ they would walk away with a lot less pride than they do currently.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 21, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

Here are some first class batting stats which are interesting: De Kock age 20, innings 23, 100s - 4, avg - 63.63. Tsolekile age 32, innings 189, 100s - 4, avg - 29.01, Kuhn age 28, innings 146, 100s - 13, avg - 46.17. In other countries Prior has a FC average of 40 and Dhoni 36.6.

De Kock's average will surely come down, but he already has as many 100s at age 20 as Tsolekile has at age 32. Surely it is reasonable to debate based on these facts? Wouldn't any country have a few questions about a keeper with those batting stats?

Posted by Jordanious77 on (December 21, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

@shafaet. That "series" was a warm-up for the ODI world cup which followed by NZ making the semi final. (NZ have made the semi final in EVERY ODI world cup) how many times has bangledesh made it?

Besides, since that series we have played Bangledesh several times and completely destroyed them. It was clearly just a one off series against a weakened blackcaps side which played some of their worst ever cricket.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 21, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Most countries have had debates around the keeping position, and whether to select based on pure keeping ability or go for the better batsman. Recently, most teams have chosen the better batting option, hence England choosing Prior over Read, Aus going for Gilly, India for Dhoni etc. I don't understand why we can't have the same debate in SA without being told to 'live in 2012'. And De Kock should develop in T20 for now, it's a game for young men and big hitters and he's not ready for tests.

@FanievdKaap - I was pointing out your factual error in stating that Thami had NEVER been given a chance. No need for the sarcasm or lectures on debating skills. Thanks mate.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

@Htc-Android: Seems like you need be white washed in another series. Remember full strength nz got white washed in bangladesh in a FIVE match series. BD is still very weak in test matches but in odi specially in home ground they are doing good.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 21, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

How are Bangladesh overrated when no ones rates them to start with? Its different when teams play New Zealand. They all expect a tough, dogged, fight, but they never get it.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Bangladesh certainly deserve to be above NZ , we have been paying abysmally for a while now . Hopefully some new blood can come in and stir them up , but NZ cricket need to stick with players instead of dropping talent after a few games . They have abandoned far too much talent in the past

Posted by FanievdKaap on (December 21, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

@SurlyCynic - thanks for proving to everyone that you cant hold a decent debate. First - you referring to a chance given to him in 2003/2004 - that is almost 10 years ago! LOL...we should then be looking all of today's heros who had chances like that when we started. So let us enlighten/educate you a bit and bring you into the last 3 years (this is free advice - pls use it next time you try and have a debate on cricket): Thami 2009 to 2010 - 581 Runs and Ave of 58.1 and highest score of 141; Thami 2010 - 2011 - 281 runs and ave of 25.54 (not great unfort) and high score of 47 and Thami 2011 - 2012 - 476 runs and ave of 59.50 (wow - what an improvement) and high score not out of 86. And there is a little matter of wickets taken - he was second to Boucher and maybe AB - he had to be catching something - other than the wrong side of the selectors! So try and move into 2012 if you can manage to live in the current world/SA. Thanks mate.

Posted by THE_MIZ on (December 21, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

@SurlyCynic, if we never another chance to a batsman after he failed initaly, Kallis, Amla, De Villiers, Petersen wouldn't be in the team. Thami has not been given his second chance...Most SA players don't seem to come good early in their careers (faf has played domestically for a decade), take a look at the squad. How many came good in their early twenties?

Posted by   on (December 21, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

Htc-And: Why do you think Bangladesh is overrated? Ranking shares equal method of calculation for all teams, isn't it?

Posted by THE_MIZ on (December 21, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

@FanievdKaap & @Mohammed Majam. I couldn't agee more! Yeah, Rudolph needs to go, he's had countless chances to come good but has failed. The issue is not whether De Kock is good enough. Of course he is, but needs to prove so in the next few seasons with the bat and gloves! Thami has consistently been the best glovesman (maybe not the best batsman but performing nonetheless) in SA for a few seasons now. Anyone following 4-day competition will tell you that. He has got the same fighting spirit of Boucher, who you may recall was never an outstanding batsman yet without a doubt a legend! @Inducker, I reckon someone who has taken close to 400 TEST wickets would judge a batsman quite well, hey?

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 21, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

FanievdKaap: Perhaps you've forgotten that Thami was given a chance, against England back in 2003/4, so it's not a different approach now. Go and have a look at how he did, he dropped chances and looked out of his depth with the bat. Now that he's 32 and still averages 30 at FC level I don't think any other country would select a keeper with those stats these days. It's nothing more sinister than selecting a keeper who bats 4 instead of a keeper who bats 8.

Posted by anver777 on (December 21, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

A dream debut is on the card for "Aaron Phangiso" !!!!

Posted by FanievdKaap on (December 21, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

@SurlyCynic + Inducker - its quite convenient that for years Thami is told "get more experience, score more runs, etc" - "we dont want to rush you" and then when he is ripe to be given the chance (with averages in first class cricket around the 50s), that he now gets told he is still not good enough. Yet when De Kock comes along, we okay to give him a chance (based on 1 great innings) because he shows promise. Is this not rushing him then? Why the different approach now? @Inducker - how do you know he will be slaughtered in test cricket if he is never given the chance?? Thats what many said of Duminy before he got a chance in Aussie (and only cos Ashwell hurt his hand) and look what he delivered. And how can you say ststs in franchise dont count - this must be the stupidest comment Ive seen today. How do you then ever decide who makes it up a rank into international cricket? Pls - be honest about your thoughts! Im all for nurturing talent - but hey...lets treat everyone equally!!

Posted by TheCricketeer on (December 21, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

With regards to this T20 series all the talk is of a depleted young New Zealand squad. Guess what, this is also a depleted young SA squad even if it is more by choice. Anyones series in my opinion.

With regards to the wicket keeping issue I dont understand the controversy around Thami being "left out" the test squad. Its standard practice for sides to do "home" tours without a backup keeper in the travelling squad. Most sides only take a backup on tour. SA havent even done that for a long time because AB was that backup to Boucher.

Back to T20 I am a De Kock fan but I wouldnt have rushed him in. He played some great knocks in Champions league and Momentum cup but he has also had a tendency to give it away a bit. Definitely one for the future but I would have asked him to work hard for a year or two if I were a selector. Good luck to him though.

For the Thami fans I wouldnt stress about De Kock. AB is the only guy keeping him out the test side right now.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

If NZ opt of Anderson, Boult, McCleneghan, Franklin and Bates they will have 5 left arm pace bowlers. That would certainly be the first time that an international team have ever chosen 5 left arm quick (or moderately brisk in the case of Franklin) bowlers.

Posted by Inducker on (December 20, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

@SurlyCynic. Don't you realise that Firdose Moonda's main job as so-called SA cricket writer is to damn with faint praise. I think I know the wicketkeeper you are referring to. He was all over the paper this morning moaning at the selectors. Unfortunately one look at him batting indicates he'd be slaughtered in test cricket. Stats in franchise cricket don't really count for much anyway. As Kirsten says its how you do in tests and internationals which counts and I think people who have been there like Hudson and Kirsten know more about judging a player than the armchair media critics.Now Ntini with the greatest slower ball in international cricket would be a great judge of a batsman

Posted by Milonedru on (December 20, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

@Htc-Android, You told "They(Bangladesh) really dont deserve to be rated higher than New zealand team". My question is "why?" In last couple of years Bahgladesh have played better "ODI Cricket" than New Zealand. They have beaten NZ 4-0, beaten England, India, Srilanka & won a series against West Indies. Bangladesh do deserve that position.

Posted by Htc-Android on (December 20, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

I hope New zealand Get to the top 8 again ODIs and displaces this Overrated Bangladesh team to 9th place. They really dont deserve to be rated higher than New zealand team. Come on Black caps you can do it.

Posted by 777aditya on (December 20, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

Watch out for Aaron Phangiso - lots of promise. Perhaps, he is the quality spinner RSA need to complete an unbeatable team. In the last series against Australia, Tahir certainly proved to be their weakest link. With the spin base covered with the likes of Phangiso and Petersen, RSA are well on their way to go on to build a really dominant force (needs to be seen if they can match the unrelenting Aussie team under Ponting). Their batting is stuff dreams are made of!

Posted by Lermy on (December 20, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

I hope Corey Anderson gets to play for NZ. I believe he's been injured in recent years because I haven't heard much about him since 2010 when he was in the U19 squad. Not sure what his bowling is like, but in the pre U19 world cup games in Blenheim against Pakistan U19, he looked in a different class to every other batsman on show, several of whom have since made international debuts. If Anderson can bat half as well as I think he can he won't look out of place at this level, fingers crossed, ha ha!!!

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 20, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

I love the way a 20 yr old keeper is criticised for only making one century in a one day competition. I watched that innings and it was the best I've seen from an SA keeper in years. I read another article where he was criticised for being 'only' the 4th highest scorer for his team in that competition. This is a 20 yr old who bats at 4 and keeps wicket! What a bonus for team balance. If another keeper who I could mention made that 100 we'd never hear the end of it. We should support our young talents like De Kock.

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