With the series already in pocket, New Zealand will take the field against South Africa in what can be termed a dead rubber in the fifth and final T20I at the University Oval in Dunedin on Thursday (February 13). While the hosts won the first two games, the Proteas won the third encounter before Sophie Devine’s blistering ton sealed the deal for New Zealand in Wellington on February 10.
For the visitors, there is nothing to lose and the team management is expected to tinker with the playing XI, in an attempt to see their combinations for one last time before heading to T20 World Cup in Australia starting later this month. Batting has been a major failure for the South Africans. The Dane van Niekerk-led side have managed to cross the 150-run mark only once (third game) in the series and none of their batters were able to register a half century.
Ranked No.6 in the world, the South African bowlers too looked clueless as in front of a famed New Zealand batting line-up. In all the four matches they played, the Proteas bowlers were unable to make any impact against the opposition accounting for only 13 wickets out of a possible 40. Ayabonga Khaka is the only South African to feature in the top five bowlers’ list with four scalps from same number of games.
ALSO READ: New Zealand's squad for T20 World Cup 2020
On the other hand, this has been a memorable series for New Zealand skipper Devine. The big allrounder not only amassed 297 runs from four games at an average of 99 which included a century and three half centuries, but also has four wickets to her name. Young Amelia Kerr too has impressed with the ball taking five wickets, so did Anna Peterson (three wickets in two games).
Overall, this series has been as good as New Zealand could have asked for going into the mega event starting February 21, one wouldn’t be surprised some changes in the hosts’ line-up on Thursday. With pride at stake, South Africa would definitely aim to finish on a high, while for the hosts it’s all about spending time together and enjoy each other’s success on the field.
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Lea Tahuhu.
South Africa: Dane Van Niekerk (c), Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Mignon Du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Chloe Tryon, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune, Trisha Chetty, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Nadine De Klerk, Nondumiso Shangase.