South Africa vs New Zealand 2017 ODIs: 5 players to watch out for

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 05: James Neesham of New Zealand bats during game three of the One Day International series between New Zealand and Australia at Seddon Park on February 5, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
James Neesham will handle the dual role of seam bowler and finisher
rohit sankar

The ghosts of Eden Park are buried and South Africa are set to embrace fresh memories in a land they shed unforgettable tears two years back. The visitors need just one win to eclipse their longest victory run in ODIs and they will hope that Hamilton brings them that win.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will have some experienced guns coming back after an abysmal show in the T20 at Auckland. They will need to sort out a way to tackle Imran Tahir, who is dangerous on any wicket with his variations.

The Champions Trophy is closing in and both teams would be looking to finalise on their 11 before the tournament. This series might be a testing stage for the sides as they search for an elusive ICC trophy.

Here we take a look at 5 key men to be watched out for in this series.

#5 James Neesham

The Kiwi all-rounder put in some fine performances in the series against Australia that has pushed him above de Grandhomme. A fine batsman, Neesham has all the qualities to be a very useful all-rounder.

This series will be crucial for Neesham who is looking to establish himself in the One Day side. Although his batting has looked top notch in the past year, his bowling has faded off which means he could still get sidelined for de Grandhomme if conditions suit the seamers.

Even after 30 ODIs, Neesham's batting average sits at 25 and bowling average around 35. He will atleast need to invert these stats to stay around in the team. His recent form suggests that he can do it but the performances need to keep coming.

#4 Farhaan Behardien

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 20: Farhaan Behardien of South Africa during the 1st KFC T20 International match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park on January 20, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Behardien might get an extended run in the absence of Miller

The Titans finisher had a great season in the CSA T20 Challenge and even got promoted as stand-in skipper in the T20 format for South Africa. But the fact remains that Behardien is still outside the best top six available in the country in ODIs.

A fine batsman with a technique that beats the textbooks, Behardien proved to be a handy finisher in the series against the Lankans. In the absence of David Miller, who injured his finger and may be out of the first two games here, he has yet another opportunity to take the finisher’s role.

While he has done his job down the order whenever asked of, Behardien usually walks in pretty late and this has affected his chances of pulling off match winning knocks. The man is definitely capable of doing it but he will have to grab whatever chances come his way.

#3 Chris Morris

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 17:  Chris Morris of South Africa runs up to bowl during the first International Twenty20 match between New Zealand and South Africa at Eden Park on February 17, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Morris could take the new ball for South Africa after his show in the T20

The all-rounder is South Africa's hope of finding the right balance to their One Day squad. A fine batsman, the management has zeroed in on Morris to do the job at No. 7 in the line-up. His match-winning knock against England in January 2016 proved that there is a hidden Klusener in him.

But Morris may be required to do more than batting in the Champions Trophy. His sensational opening spell in the T20 has made him the favourite to partner Rabada with the new ball in ODIs.

A fine death bowler too, Morris has quickened up without compromising on line and length and still bowls a handy yorker towards the end of an innings. He might just be the bridge between South Africa and an ICC Trophy and this series could be important for him to sustain that momentum.

#2 Tom Latham

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 08: Tom Latham of Canterbury batting during the Ford Trophy match between Canterbury and Wellington on February 8, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand.  (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Latham needs to find back some form before the Champions Trophy

The Kiwi opener was worked over by Mitchell Starc in the series against Australia. After a honeymoon period in ODIs, Latham is finding the going tough and can expect it to get tougher if the likes of Rabada get it right.

With Martin Guptill still out injured, Latham will be the senior partner to Bean Brownlie, who is expected to open the innings. He might remember that he scored three successive half-centuries against the Proteas when they toured South Africa after the 2015 World Cup.

However, the Proteas bowling attack is rather new and is oozing with talented cricketers. Latham is not in the best of nick, but will seek to improve his form before the all important tournament in England in June.

#1 Ross Taylor

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 05: Ross Taylor of New Zealand bats during game three of the One Day International series between New Zealand and Australia at Seddon Park on February 5, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
The grumpy middle order batsman has a point to prove

The veteran middle order batsman was least pleased about being left out from the T20 and made it as clear as possible in the build-up to that match. He scored a hundred in the last ODI New Zealand played against the Aussies and will be looking to carry that kind of form forward.

His eyesight, which required a surgery last year, is much better which means his striking has probably become better too. He has the license to go about his business with Neil Broom adding to the experience factor in the middle order.

Taylor prefers to be attacking and it has worked for him in the past. He may, however, need to get past a tricky customer in the middle overs in the form of Imran Tahir. But an in-form Ross Taylor is a different beast and sustaining his good form can push his case in T20s as well.

Edited by Staff Editor
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