By BV Swagath
Never ever has this happened of the Blackcaps pulling off a cleansweep against a formidable opposition in the recent times. History says that the last time New Zealand inflicted a cleansweep against a major opponent was back in 2006/07 at home again Australia, the series score being 3-0. One good match tonight and the Black Caps could turn one of their dreams into a reality. Battered away in the 2-Test Series with innings defeat, the two wins in the two ODIs so far have been more than a consolation for New Zealand under a new leader Brendon McCullum.
South Africa’s pride is at stake tonight at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom. They will have to put in their A game to avoid a defeat at any cost. The batting has been a major worry in the absence of established players such as AB de Villiers, Kallis, Amla and Duminy. The middle order has been pretty brittle in their absence which was quite evident in the way the second ODI panned out.
The Kiwis just by bowling a few dot balls in a row could trigger a sort of panic in the new look South African batting line-up resulting in five run outs and a couple of poor shots. Another rookie batsman comes into the South African team in the form of Dean Elgar following the omission of Hashim Amla due to an injury.
The Proteas are expected to bring in rested fast bowler Dale Steyn for this final One Dayer perhaps at the expense of an out of song Ryan McLaren. Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso is also likely to get a game, and if that happens, it will be an ODI debut for him. That seems to be on the cards as the other left-arm spinner Robin Peterson is out of the team following a hand injury sustained during the second ODI.
South Africa Squad: Faf du Plessis (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Farhaan Behardien, Rory Kleinveldt, David Miller, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Ryan McLaren, Graeme Smith, Colin Ingram, Dean Elgar
New Zealand Squad: Brendon McCullum (C), BJ Watling (WK), Trent Boult, Ronnie Hira, Nathan McCullum, Colin Munro, Rob Nicol, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jimmy Neesham, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Grant Elliott, Kyle Mills