The South African tour of New Zealand starts on Friday at Eden Park in Auckland, with the Proteas and the New Zealand Black Caps playing a one off T20I. Will the Faf du Plessis’ led South Africa register a win or can Kane Williamson guide New Zealand to a victory?
As if facing the No.1 ranked T20I side on home soil wasn’t a big enough challenge in itself, the tourists have made life even more difficult, by agreeing to a schedule that means that they will take the field in Auckland less than a week after completing a home ODI series win against Sri Lanka, and having crossed 11 time zones to reach their destination.
Since last year’s T20 World Cup in India, South Africa have played just the recent series against Sri Lanka in the shortest international format, and playing a weakened side against the tourists, they were beaten 1-2.
While the Kiwis have also played just the one series, comfortably seeing off the touring Bangladesh Tigers by 3-0.
The two countries played a two-match series against each other in South Africa in August 2015, winning one fixture each. The Black Caps enjoying a 32-run victory at Centurion to level the series, two days after the Proteas had won by 6-wickets in Durban.
Although Eden Park is often seen as something of a fortress for the New Zealand side, in T20I’s their record is in fact quite average, with 12 games played at the venue, five of which the hosts have won, and five lost, with the other two fixtures ending in ties.
When the tourists were last at the venue for a T20I, back in 2012, they emerged victorious in a thriller by just 3-runs, on their way to a 2-1 series success.
The two most recent T20Is at Eden Park, were played in early 2016, when Sri Lanka were thrashed by 9-wickets, the Kiwis reaching their 143 run target inside 10-overs. However, Pakistan were able to successfully defend a score of 171 just a few days after the Sri lanka fixture.