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South Africa must fire in ODI decider

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/03/2017

South African batsman Faf du Plessis. © MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images South African batsman Faf du Plessis. In worrying news for the Black Caps, South African batsman Faf du Plessis believes the Proteas are operating at barely two-thirds of their capacity.

With the ODI series poised at two games apiece, du Plessis says there's huge room for improvement from South Africa going into Saturday's decider in Auckland.

"I think we've been firing at about 65 per cent this whole series," the South African Test captain said.

"We haven't played close to a complete game at all.

"In all skills, we've just been a little bit off the boil - we haven't been consistent enough."

Du Plessis says South Africa have been unable to build hundreds from their top six batsmen, and have struggled to put big totals on the board.

With the ball, he is looking for South Africa's young bowlers to be more relentless in the areas they target.

"We've been very soft in giving boundaries away," he said.

"They need to become a little bit smarter in the areas they bowl, start creating that real pressure pocket in the game where as a batter you feel the squeeze and feel like you have to do something out of the ordinary to create something."

Du Plessis said neither side had delivered consistently good cricket across the five-match ODI series.

"I don't think both teams have played their best cricket.

"It's been a series where it hasn't been dominated by the bat - the bowlers have played a huge part.

"I think both teams will feel they're a little bit under-performing."

Nevertheless, he's confident that the Black Caps, whose seven-wicket win in Hamilton on Wednesday levelled the series, will lift again at Eden Park.

Recalled opener Martin Guptill was in a different class with an imperious unbeaten 180 at Seddon Park, his 138-ball knock lifting New Zealand to the win with five overs to spare.

Injuries to both hamstrings have restricted Guptill this summer, but du Plesses said it would be foolhardy for the South Africans to concentrate their efforts solely on removing him on Saturday.

"There's more guys than Martin Guptill in the New Zealand batting line-up that can do that."

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