South Africa embark on their important tour of New Zealand with a T20 match that is being touted as little more than a warm-up match for what’s to come in Auckland. Be sure to join The Roar for live scores of the only T20 from 5pm (AEDT).
On a long tour like this one, a T20 series of three matches in duration would have been considered normal, however time constraints have seen it brought back to one.
Not that there are any problems with that – having fewer T20 matches so the Test and ODI series can stay at the same length is an important step in the right direction from both countries.
For South Africa, who had their warm-up T20 against a New Zealand XI cancelled on Wednesday, this match can now serve as an efficient warm-up for the rest of the tour.
While there are ranking points on the line and every single international match is one to win, for the good of the tour there may be a few oddities in the South African team here, as well as some form issues.
The Proteas squad is captained by one of the best batsmen in world cricket – AB De Villiers – and he will be backed up at the top of the order by Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock.
The rest of the order is a little less set in stone, but if one of those three go on with it then the pressure will be immediately on the Kiwis to follow suit at the top of their order.
Kane Williamson will be the man under pressure for the Black Caps, and the worry is they won’t have the same depth the Proteas have. Still, any one of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro or Corey Anderson could go crazy to build a big total.
It’s the bowlers where New Zealand take the upper hand with Ish Sodhi the man to bowl the Black Caps to victory. He has quickly established himself as one of the best spinners in the world and gives New Zealand a definite X-Factor in this match.
New Zealand are a relatively strong side at home in the short format of the game, so it’s hard to see them dropping the game to a South African team who are yet to play in the conditions.
New Zealand in a reasonably comfortable victory.
Be sure to join The Roar for live scores of the match from 5pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add your own comments throughout the course of the coverage.
Follow Scott on Twitter @sk_pryde