Kimberley: Saturday's victory over South Africa would have brought plenty of relief but the pressure will be on New Zealand to hold their nerve once more in the remaining two ODIs. New Zealand have never won an ODI series in South Africa, and if Brendon McCullum's team can get it right on Tuesday at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley, it will be a memorable way to round off what has been a difficult tour.
New Zealand have only won three of 19 ODIs in South Africa against the hosts, and following the hammering they received in the Tests, a series win could be seen as a big step forward. New Zealand's batsmen are often criticised for their impatience, and it is this trait that will be tested in the rest of the series. A chase of 209 turned into a mess after New Zealand lost their openers in ten deliveries on Saturday, and it needed a patient and simple approach from James Franklin to steer them to a one-wicket win.
Another such batting effort would not leave New Zealand much room to breathe. As Franklin put it after his Man-of-the-Match performance, the team is under no illusions. "We have to be almost at our best, if not our best, to compete with these guys. Particularly over here in South Africa, we don't have a great track record here in one-day cricket, now we have got a real chance of maybe winning a one-day series."
New Zealand's top order was particularly shaky, and from 4 for 2 it was BJ Watling who held the batting together with 45 off 78 balls. It is this approach which New Zealand could do with from the first ball. So Martin Guptill, whose two-ball duck extended his poor run on tour since he stroked a superb century in the first Twenty20 on December 23, and Rob Nicol will be under plenty of pressure. The rest of the team should stay the same. After his superb debut 4 for 20 that helped bowl South Africa out for 208, expectations will soar from New Zealand's latest fast-bowling prospect, Mitchell McClanaghan.
With AB de Villiers serving a two-match suspension for a poor over-rate in Saturday's narrow defeat, South Africa will be without their most valuable limited-overs player. Already without the experience of Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy, the hosts will look to their openers Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla for solidity. The pair failed in Paarl, setting the tone for a poor batting effort. Faf du Plessis – who scored the only fifty of the match - will lead the side in de Villiers' absence and Dolphins' batsman David Miller has been called up as a replacement batsman.
South Africa looked a batsman short on Saturday, with allrounder Ryan McLaren batting at No. 7, so it is possible that one of the four frontline bowlers used in Paarl makes way for another batsman in Farhaan Behardien. Rotation was expected for this series, so Morne Morkel could come in for Dale Steyn who went wicketless in Paarl. For an inexperienced side, these two must-win matches now look a lot tougher.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Dale Steyn/Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 BJ Watling, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt/wk), 6 Grant Elliott, 7 James Franklin, 8 Jimmy Neesham, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClanaghan