Kiwis look to bounce back after trouncings
New Zealand will take comfort from their ranking in one-day cricket as they seek to recover from a Test mauling by South Africa.
The countries meet in a Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium today, followed by three one-day internationals in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
"Our one-day form is markedly better than our Test form," New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said.
Vettori pointed to the world rankings, in which New Zealand are third, one place behind their opponents.
"We do have some confidence in our game. We're obviously missing a few guys from our last set of one-dayers in the World Cup but because guys play so much cricket there's a chance to turn things around," he said.
New Zealand, hit by injuries and battered by South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, lost the two Tests by wide margins.
Although both squads are similar to those which squared up in the Test series, New Zealand have a good record in limited overs matches. They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in the West Indies earlier this year and repeated the feat in the inaugural Twenty20 world championships in South Africa in September.
However, injuries and retirements have weakened New Zealand since the World Cup.
Pace bowlers Shane Bond and James Franklin are injured while two key batsmen, former captain Stephen Fleming and Craig McMillan, have retired from one-day internationals. But leading all-rounder Jacob Oram is expected to be fit after missing the second Test because of a hamstring injury.
The Black Caps will have to face up to Steyn again, with the fast bowler included in the South African one-day squad after taking 20 wickets in two Tests.
The pitches are unlikely to be as bowler-friendly as they were in the Tests, with the three coastal venues for the 50-overs games likely to provide more even and less steep bounce than the tourists encountered in the Test matches.
South Africa won a hard-fought series 3-2 in Pakistan last month and will go into the one-dayers confident of continuing their dominance against New Zealand.
Although coach Mickey Arthur and captain Graeme Smith have said Test cricket is the priority in the next year, which includes away series against India, England and Australia, Arthur said the Proteas wanted to maintain their status as one of the two top-ranked one-day teams.