The last twelve months have been weird as hell. Thinking back to around about this time last year, Australia had just gotten themselves pummeled by England in the fifth and final Ashes test at the SCG. If you had told me then that they would whitewash India the following year – the then #1s, while the new #1s – England, would in turn get whitewashed by the basket case that is Pakistan, I would’ve coughed into my soup.
But stuff like that is exactly what has happened. And we had a superb 50 over World Cup in between whiles as well as classy bilaterals between the West Indies and Pakistan, Australia and South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand. Unpredictable was how they rolled, as all the two test affairs tapered to neither here nor there 1-1 results, leaving the average fan wanting that extra third test, to see which side could have hypothetically got their noses ahead.
Up next then, we have South Africa flying to the corner of the planet that is New Zealand, a place where they’ve generally toured well in going by statistics. Thanks to the abject failures of #1 and #2 in their respective away series, the Proteas can climb up the ladder to the top of the pile to claim the top ranking for themselves. The catch? They’ve got to whitewash the blackcaps in the three match series.
Doesn’t seem likely does it? Here’s why:
1. Like it or not, weather will always relegate large chunks of games in New Zealand to damp squib affairs. Be surprised not, if Game I at Dunedin is rained out. It’s the closest international venue to the south pole and overcast skies are always around the corner. Yes, even during the summer months. Once we’re through with that encounter and the scoreline still reads 0-0, there goes the Proteas chance of a whitewash.
2. Number two. New Zealand ain’t going to roll over. They have ripped apart Zimbabwe leading in to this series, prior to which they come off a morale boosing win at Hobart against big brother Australia. 1-0 down is as far as they’ll go I reckon. Watch out for great performances from Two Toes, the Wunderkid and Rossco, if his groin fixes itself in time LoL.
3. And. When was the last time a South African sports team grabbed their chance when the finish line’s been in sight? That’s right, never. Ditto here. My prediction? 1-1, with the Saffers conquering Hamilton. Expect Steyn and Philander to rip through the Kiwi top-order that game.
Knowing how fortunes have panned out over the past year, I’m most likely going to be wrong with the Kiwis thrashing South Africa 3-0 or something weird such as that. Still, an educated guess is always on I reckon, so here it is: South Africa 3 New Zealand 0? Not gonna happen.
PS: I like the ways tours to New Zealand are structured. Looking at the FTP, most of them comprise of 3 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20s. None of the 2 Tests, 7 ODIs balderash. They do distribute their food evenly, them Kiwis.