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Monday, Feb 20th

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Andile Phehlukwayo continued to enhance his growing all-round reputation by providing crucial late support for AB de Villiers as the Standard Bank Proteas sealed a nail-biting, four-wicket win over New Zealand in their rain-affected, first One-Day International (ODI) of a five-match series in Hamilton on Sunday.

The youngster plundered two sixes and two fours in his 29 not out off 23 balls to take South Africa past their 208 victory-target with a delivery to spare in their 34-over-a-side affair at Seddon Park.

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The five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand will be an opportunity for the Standard Bank Proteas to fine-tune their playing blueprint ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June. The Proteas have stacked up 11 consecutive ODI wins since September, and will be aiming to extend the record in the first match at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.

Proteas ODI captain, AB de Villiers, says although the squad isn’t looking too far ahead to the ICC showpiece, the series against a quality New Zealand side will be a key test for the squad in conditions similar to what can be expected in the UK.

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Imran Tahir returned career-best figures for South Africa in Twenty20 Internationals as they made a convincing start to their tour of New Zealand with a comprehensive, 78-run victory in their one-off clash in Auckland on Friday. The leg-spinner led a stellar bowling display by taking 5/24 – the third best figures ever for South Africa – as the hosts were bundled out for 107 in 14.5 overs. It was also the biggest-ever win in terms of runs over their opponents.

The groundwork for the result was done by seam duo of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris, the pair picking up the other five wickets between them.

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South African leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, hopes his rise to the top of the ICC ODI bowling rankings will spur on more leading performances in the upcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand, which starts with the one-off T20I in Auckland on Friday. Tahir holds the No.1 bowling spot in both T20 and ODI cricket, and recently topped the ODI charts following his performances in the 5-0 series win against Sri Lanka where he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker with 10 wickets.

He has developed into an x-factor player for the Proteas in the short format of the game, with captains, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, acknowledging the value he adds in the respective formats. The 37-year-old, who has played 69 ODI’s and 30 T20I’s in his six-year career, continues to get better with age and hard work.

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South African bowlers will have to be creative in the way they adapt to the Eden Park field dimensions in the one-off T20 International against New Zealand on Friday. The multi-purpose venue, which houses straight boundaries of between 45 – 55m, will pose a unique challenge to the bowlers, all of whom - except for Imran Tahir - will be making their debuts at the ground.

Proteas fast bowler, Chris Morris, says the attack will have to plan accordingly to counter the boundary dimensions and conditions, with weather forecasts predicting some rain on Friday evening.

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Opener Martin Guptill has been ruled out of the ANZ Twenty20 and first two ODIs against South Africa due to a hamstring issue.

Guptill had a scan on Tuesday which revealed a right hamstring strain. The injury occurred while training for the upcoming series and is a separate injury to the left hamstring issue he previously suffered.

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Two squads of 14 have been named for New Zealand's upcoming Twenty20 and ODI series against South Africa.

Luke Ronchi will make his return from injury in the BLACKCAPS one off Twenty20 at Eden Park on 17 February and also features in the ODI squad. Having been brought into the squad for the final ODI against Australia, Ish Sodhi maintains his place in the squad, which has been named for the first two ODI matches in Hamilton and Christchurch. 

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