South Africa begin their 45-day-long tour in New Zealand with a one-off Twenty20 International at the Eden Park on Friday. The in-form Faf du Plessis-led team will have to put behind the memories of their heart-breaking 2015 World Cup semi-final defeat to the hosts at the same venue and the opening T20I has given them the right platform to flex the muscles.
A second-string South African team might have lost a three-match T20I series at home against Sri Lanka last month but they bounced back in the One Day International series thumping the Island nation 5-0. Big names, Hashim Amla, skipper du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy also return to the T20 fold for tomorrow's match.
However, it will be stern test for the Men in Green against the hosts, who are looking invincible at home after decimating Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the recent past. Notably, New Zealand have only lost one game in their last 10 T20Is with their last defeat coming at the ICC World T20 in India last year.
Kane Williamson will miss the services of injured Martin Guptill for the T20I match but return of Colin Munro, who impressed with his stint at the recently-concluded Big Bash League in Australia, and wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi should give the skipper enough confidence. The Black Caps side also has solid all-rounders in the likes of Colin De Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner.
Both teams look evenly-matched on paper and have captains, who are tactically strong as well and neither of them would want to face a defeat in the opening game of the long tour. A cracking contest awaits us in the one-off T20I but the wet-weather conditions in Auckland might play spoilsport.
New Zealand: Sky Sport 1
Australia: Fox Sports 2
South Africa: Supersport
UK: Sky Sports
MIddle East: OSN Sports
Possible XI: Williamson (c), Phillips, Munro, Bruce, Anderson, De Grandhomme, Ronchi, Santner, Wheeler, Southee, Bolt
Possible XI: Du Plessis (c), Amla, De kock, De Villiers, Duminy, Behardien, Morris, Parnell, Phehlukwayo, Rabada, Tahir