New Zealand begins their two-test campaign in South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban, later today. The Kiwis will be seeking their first ever series win in South Africa. They will be gung-ho after their facile win in the neighboring Zimbabwe. However, they will be aware that South Africa offers a far stiffer challenge than the neighbors. As for cricket betting, it is going to be an evenly matched contest, with no clear-cut favorites. The series offers prospects for all three possible results.
South Africa – Preview
The South African team is clearly weakened by the absence of AB de Villiers. Faf du Plessis is leading the team. Their batting looks a bit vulnerable. Du Plessis has not been as dependable as he was about a couple of years ago. Much depends on how Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar fare. If these three have a lean series, the Saffers will be in trouble.
The bowling is not without any worries either. Dale Stein, for long the kingpin of the South African attack, is no longer the force he was once. Vernon Philander too seems to have lost his Midas touch. Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada are more likely to star in the series than the others.
South Africa appear a bit short in confidence. This is where they miss somebody like de Villiers. But you do not miss anything on cricket betting, as the series offers attractive odds.
New Zealand – Preview
The Kiwis’ confidence is inflated by huge wins against Zimbabwe. You cannot foretell whether it is good or bad. Sometimes it can work in your favor, as the momentum and confidence carry forward to the next series. Sometimes it will not work, as your perceived strengths falter against tougher opponents.
As things stand now, New Zealand have no apparent weaknesses. Their batsmen are scoring truckloads of runs and bowlers are taking wickets in buckets.
New Zealand have played 23 matches in South Africa, but managed to win only three. If you consider the stats since South Africa’s re-admission to test cricket in 1994, the record is even worse. New Zealand won the first test since the re-entry in 1994, and that was it. In the 12 tests that followed, South Africa won 10 tests and drew two matches. The recent record is skewed in favour of the hosts. The Saffers have won all of the last five test matches.
What gives hopes for the visitors is South Africa’s recent poor record at Kingsmead. They have lost five of the last six matches played here. They have struggled against teams with good fast bowling attacks. Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner will be fancying their chances.
It is all even-steven. South Africa have the home advantage, but New Zealand look a stronger side on paper. It could cause a bettor’s dilemma on the cricket betting front. Given South Africa’s not-so-good recent form, it will be a slight advantage for the Kiwis.
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