Unusual Slow Pitch in New Zealand – Spinners opening with the new ball in the 1st innings
The fourth ODI at Hamilton saw two spinners open the bowling for the first time in the first innings of an ODI. Jeetan Patel got Quinton de Kock for a golden duck in the 1st over of the innings, which ended his run of five consecutive fifty-plus scores. With two new right handed batsmen at the crease, Kane Williamson gave Mitchell Santner the second over.
Omission of Shamsi
One of the biggest buzz going into the ODI was the possible inclusion of Tabraiz Shamsi in SA’s XI, but the proteas instead went with an extra pacer. The slow surface quite clearly aided the spinners more than the seamers and South Africa probably missed a trick even before a ball was bowled in the ODI.. New Zealand’s bowled an aggregate of 23 overs of spin @ 4.95 compared to South Africa’s tally of just 13 overs @ 6.30. South Africa was quite clearly short of a recognized second spinner and this made them to use Duminy as their second choice who conceded 26 off his three overs.
South Africa’s continuous middle order muddle in the series
The trend of losing wickets in a heap for South Africa in the middle overs continued even in this ODI. Credit to New Zealand’s bowlers for keeping a check on the runs in a crucial phase of the game. They didn’t concede a boundary for a period of 12 overs mounting the pressure on the South African batsmen, which played a big part in their middle order to collapse from 128/2 to 158/6.
The comeback man doing the job for New Zealand
Martin Guptill playing his 3rd competitive game of the year produced a match winning knock of 180* in the fourth ODI to give Kiwis the much needed victory to level the series. Amongst all batsmen from New Zealand, he seemed to be the only man who felt comfortable playing Imran Tahir, smashing 43 runs off 23 balls against the later but the rest of his teammate could manage only 13 runs of 37 deliveries. He was able to find boundaries in regular intervals and never seemed uncomfortable, 126 out of his tally of 180 runs have come through boundaries.
Critical choices in the usage of reviews
A crucial review was taken by Guptill when he was adjudged out leg before by the on field umpire. Guptill was batting on 62, decided to review the decision and got it overturned rightly as the replays confirmed the ball was missing the stumps, going high over the leg stump.
Earlier the innings, Kane Williamson after a brief chat with Guptill decided not to use the available review after he was give out LBW. The replay later showed he the ball would’ve gone on to hit the stumps and the decision wouldn’t have got overturned had he decided to review it. Critically if Williamson, the key batsman and captain of the side had used up that review, Guptill wouldn’t have had a chance to review his LBW decision a few overs later.