Auckland: New Zealand have dispatched Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia at home this season but the visit of South Africa is the meat of their summer. We should know a fair amount more about Kane Williamson’s New Zealand by the end of March.
Whether the tour actually gets going on Friday night is another issue. Rain lashed Auckland on the final practice day – it has already disrupted South Africa’s first few days here with the warm-up match washed – and it currently appears touch-and-go if it will clear in time for a full match.
One-off T20s are pretty meaningless in the grander scheme of things, especially so far away from the next World T20, and Faf du Plessis said pretty much that at his arrival press conference. However, cricket should be about the spectators as well as the players and, if the weather plays ball and the crowd swells into the ground, it should be a lively Friday evening.
The only part of South Africa’s home season that did not go to plan was the T20 series against Sri Lanka when a second-string side were overturned 2-1. This time the side will closely resemble the powerhouse one-day unit; whether that translates into the performance remains to be seen.
For New Zealand in T20 there is a sense of getting a glimpse at the future. Tom Bruce came in against Bangladesh, left-armer Ben Wheeler returned and Tom Blundell also featured. Blundell has made way for the fit-again Luke Ronchi, but 20-year Glenn Phillips has been rewarded for his stellar Super Smash tournament.
Colin Munro has lost his place in the ODI squad after two failures at the hands of Australia, but two international innings previously he had notched his maiden hundred with 101 off 57 balls in the second T20 against Bangladesh. Agencies
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