Irrespective of the nations involved in a T20 international match, there is a sense of excitement in the air with the expected thrills and spills in the shortest format of the game. The format looks even more intriguing when big teams are in action against one another as will be the case on Friday with South Africa taking on New Zealand in the first T20 match at Kingsmead in Durban.
The first of the two match T20 series between South Africa and New Zealand promises to be an interesting one with a number of top players in both the teams.
New Zealand may be missing some of their big stars such as Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee amongst others, but the Porteas cannot afford to take the Black Caps lightly.
New Zealand, who are a confident unit after winning the T20 and the ODI series against Zimbabwe, are aware of the tough matchup against South Africa. In fact, South Africa also emerged triumphant in their last T20 series against Bangladesh though they lost the ODI series.
South Africa are one of the strongest teams in world cricket while playing at home and with the players at their disposal such as Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, David Miller and AB de Villiers among others, they should be considered favourites.
South Africa will be eager to witness their two key players –David Miller and de Villiers – fire on all cylinders as they can rip apart any bowling attack in the world. They have a decent bowling line up as well and Imran Tahir bowling his wrong ones and Morne Morkel with his pace can be a huge threat to New Zealand's batting line up.
However, New Zealand also have some classy batsmen such as Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Luke Ronchi and Grant Elliot among others to help defeat the hosts.
With the T20 World Cup looming large next year in India, both the nations can use the series as preparations for the tournament. Hence, both the teams will be trying to figure their best line up for the mega competition by playing in such series. This also gives a chance for youngsters to prove themselves and claim a place in the T20 World Cup squad.
South Africa Squad
Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Morne van Wyk (wk), David Wiese.
New Zealand Squad
Kane Williamson (captain), Doug Bracewell, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ben Wheeler.
South Africa vs New Zealand 1st T20 Schedule
Venue - Kingsmead, Durban
Date – 14 August
Time – 6pm local time (9:30 pm IST)