Kiwis keen to break SA hearts
A win, that's all New Zealand want now from a tour that's turned into something akin to a cricketing nightmare in the last few weeks.
Tonight's Standard Bank Pro20 International at the Wanderers is seen by the New Zealanders as the first step on that path to some form of redemption. For South Africa, it's simply about winning another game, getting some of the newer players accustomed to the set-up, and getting into gear for the one-day series that starts in Durban on Sunday.
The Black Caps are desperately trying to cling to any semblance of positivity.
"We do take a bit of solace in our 20/20 and one-day performances over the last couple of years. Guys know their one-day games pretty well, because they've had a good dose of it over the last few years," said the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
He then shot a psychological barb across South Africa's bow, by referring to their early exit from the recent T20 World Cup. "We are a confident one-day and 20/20 side. We made the semifinals of the T20 tournament and South Africa didn't, so there's a step up for us straight away."
Graeme Smith has grown up a bit in his time as captain and wasn't going to fall for such silly pre-match sledging. "If you look back we beat them in the T20. These mind games are not something I'm too strong on.
"It's about controlling what you can control and what we can control is our performance (tonight)."
They may have to achieve control without Herschelle Gibbs who is still recovering from a knee injury picked up during the second Test at Centurion, but they will, said Smith, include Jacques Kallis, who was deemed surplus to the side's requirements for the T20 tournament.
Kallis could open with Smith, something he did in the very first Pro20 International South Africa played, which was also against New Zealand. On that occasion Kallis scored 20 off 18 balls as part of a stand that realised 84 runs in nine overs.
Smith also hinted that Shaun Pollock would be back in the starting line-up while the new additions to the one-day squad; JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Albie Morkel and Dale Steyn will also get a run on Friday.
"We've selected our one-day squad (for the T20), because with the amount of Test and four-day cricket going on with the franchise we felt we needed to take extra time to get our skills right," Smith explained.
New Zealand, as has become the norm for them on this trip, won't be able to pick their best team. Big all-rounder Jacob Oram is still recovering from the hamstring strain suffered in the first Test, while Chris Martin will be given extra time to get over his tummy troubles.
Smith, like South Africa's coach Mickey Arthur, remains wary of New Zealand despite their failings in the Test series.