New Zealand vs South Africa Highlights today. 1st Test, Sunday 4-2-2024. South Africa tour of New Zealand 2024, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
would be overwhelming favorites going into their Test series against New Zealand if reputation didn’t matter as much as history did. In 17 matches, they have never lost a Test series against them. However, South Africa’s reputation as the underdog is well-founded if the situation were reversed, as it actually is. They have eight uncapped players, including their rookie skipper, and none of their long-format regulars as they take on New Zealand in their 18th test.
The players engaged in South Africa’s temporary squad have grown weary of the reasons behind it all, which have been painstakingly explained (crash course: the top players are involved in the SA20, which is the financial savior of the game in the country). Dane Paterson, who is anticipated to spearhead the bowling attack, says South Africa has to make the most of what they have and is “excited for the challenge.”
Furthermore, as Rachin Ravindra maintains, New Zealand must play the competition that is placed in front of them and refrain from being overly obsessed with the labels that have been placed on them. In Mount Maunganui, Ravindra said, “I don’t think there is anything like underdog status when you step into the middle.” It concerns the instantaneous events. All outside noise disappears once the ball is bowled and you are expected to play it.
Experience speaks for Ravindra.
He played his final Test match at the same location in early 2022, when Bangladesh defeated New Zealand in this format for the first time. It was one of the five biggest upsets in the history of the game. After a year, Bangladesh defeated New Zealand once more at Sylhet, ensuring that the two sides had shared the previous two series. The first series of the 2023–2025 World Test Championship (WTC) cycle was the second one, and New Zealand’s 1–1 tie puts them in the exact same spot as South Africa on the points table. It’s important to keep in mind that contests inside contests exist.
A cursory look of their previous matches highlights how crucial this series is to both South Africa and New Zealand, who are still in the early phases of their WTC cycle while Australia has already played 10 Tests.
After hosting Australia, New Zealand will travel to Sri Lanka and India for challenging away matches before returning home to play England later in the year. Their greatest chance of starting the tournament on the front foot would seem to be to secure maximum points against South Africa. Conversely, South Africa has already split a series with India and will tour Bangladesh and the West Indies before hosting Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the summer of 2024–25. They may be able to afford to lose this match in New Zealand given their schedule, but they also know that a win may put them in a strong position to contend for a berth in the final.
That’s the broad image,
but there are a number of more detailed ones to pay attention to. While Paterson, Duanne Olivier, and Dane Piedt, three members of South Africa’s Test team, accepted coach Shukri Conrad’s Hail Mary call and consented to travel despite knowing they wouldn’t be included in the team’s future plans, there are others for whom this may be a chance. The captain, Neil Brand, hopes to replace Dean Elgar at number one, middle-order batsman David Bedingham, who made his debut against India, can establish himself, and Keegan Petersen, who has been dropped twice in two seasons, may see this as his last chance to claim the No. 3 spot.
“A lot of the guys in their team will want to continue to push forward for South African Test selection and we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of them,” Ravindra said. It is also true in the opposite direction. Following the above stated Bangladesh match, Ravindra returned to the Test team, Glenn Philips may play his first Test at home, and Will O’Rourke is expected to make his debut in the second match. There are slots up for grabs for New Zealand as well, chasing history in more ways than one. O’Rourke will replace one of the players in the squad for the first Test.
Beyond only cricket,
New Zealand and South Africa have a fierce rivalry, and their most recent match was an unforgettable one. South Africa prevailed by one point in the rugby World Cup final last year, which was contested three days before to the cricket teams’ match in the 50-over World Cup. The victory served as a symbol of the country’s tenacity and resiliency. “South Africa are a very, very proud sporting nation, not just a cricket nation,” Ravindra said. They take great pleasure in what they do. They play with aggression and an attitude of non-fear.”
To see an example, the Test team need only look over the ditch, where the national women’s team defeated Australia in a T20I for the first time. This and the men’s national football team’s performance, which has kept them out of the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals since 2000, serve as reminders that South Africans are not readily satisfied with mediocrity. “Every South African does not see themselves as an underdog,” stated Paterson. “We take great satisfaction in handling those high-pressure circumstances. I believe that to be our greatest position. We’ll undoubtedly encounter that in this series, and it’s thrilling to accept the challenge.”
Would he even name a favorite, then? Not exactly. “Looking through statistics and all that, New Zealand will be heavily involved, since they clearly have no idea who the guys are who are here. Thus, it’s rather unfamiliar to them,” Paterson remarked. We’re not familiar with it either, as we’ve never faced New Zealand in a game. Then, I believe it to be quite even.”
Toss: South Africa have elected to bowl first.
New Zealand team: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Rachin Ravindra, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Glenn Phillips, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Kyle Jamieson, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Tim Southee (capt).
South Africa team: 1 Neil Brand, 2 Edward Moore, 3 Raynard van Tonder 4 Zubayr Hamza, 5 David Bedingham, 6 Keegan Peterson, 7 Ruan de Swardt, 8 Clyde Fortuin, 9 Duanne Olivier, 10 Tshepo Moreki, 11 Dane Paterson.
Head to Head In Test’s: 47
New Zealand Won: 5
South Africa Won: 26
New Zealand Test Rankings: 5th
South Africa Test Rankings: 4th
(last five matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WWWLW
South Africa DWWWL
Match Timings: 10:00 PM | 11:00 AM Local
Umpires – Ahsan Raza, Richard Kettleborough
TV Umpire – Richard Illingworth
Match Referee – Javagal Srinath
Reserve Umpire – Shaun Haig
Match number – Test no. 2528