Potchefstroom: New Zealand, on Friday, will be aiming for something which they haven’t experienced in quite some time… A series whitewash against a top side.
After having won at Paarl and Kimberley, they stand on the threshold of making it 3-0 against South Africa when they take the field for the final one-dayer of the series.
New Zealand had looked lost in the Test series, succumbing to sub-50 totals.
No one really gave New Zealand a chance before the series started. But the young side has a number of players who were not part of the Test debacle.
They showed resilience in the first ODI in Paarl, where the lower order helped the team steal a one-wicket win. The second win was more professional.
New Zealand posted 279 and the applied enough pressure to stop South Africa well short of the target.
There have been off-field issues, but the Black Caps have done remarkably well in rising above that and taming a strong South African side.
Players like Mitchell McClenaghan and Kane Williamson have announced to the world that they can be better than the best.
South Africa, on the other hand, find themselves in a strange position. They were the favourites when the series started, but lost key players to injuries and suspension, and now the team looks completely depleted.
No AB de Villiers, no Hashim Amla. They have a new captain in Faf du Plessis who will have to do something to bring the focus of his team back.
For New Zealand, Martin Guptill will love to get some runs in the last match of the series. With scores of 1, 0, 1 and 48 in the two Tests and two ducks in the ODIs, he definitely needs some runs under his belt. His place in the team is likely to come under the scanner ahead of the England tour and this match is his last chance on this tour to reiterate his value.