You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Southee seeks late-innings killer instinct

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/03/2017

Black Caps paceman Tim Southee admits his death bowling must improve for the side to claim an ODI series win over South Africa.

Returning opener Martin Guptill belted the Kiwis to a seven-wicket win in Hamilton on Wednesday, but not before Southee and Trent Boult were battered with the ball.

Each paceman secured figures of 70-1 on a slow Seddon Park wicket and were thrashed for a combined 72 runs in the last five overs.

Proteas talisman AB de Villiers was particularly damaging at the death, scoring 31 runs on the way to 72 not out, while Wayne Parnell bashed out 29.

Yet Guptill's unbeaten 180, including 15 boundaries and 11 sixes, kept the hosts alive in the five-match series and sent it to a decider in Auckland on Saturday.

Southee told reporters that Guptill may not be able to provide another safety net for an expensive Black Caps pace attack.

The quick removal of de Villiers on a truer Eden Park surface was crucial.

"We've had a mixed bag when it comes to death bowling in the series, when you've got a player like AB de Villiers who can hit you 360 degrees at will at the end there, it's difficult," the Kiwi vice-captain said.

"When we haven't got him, he's made the most of those last five or six overs."

Yet the Proteas tour hasn't been all bad news for the 28-year-old Southee, who successfully closed out the side's victory in Christchurch.

The 115-ODI Northland native said his up-and-down form was all part of life as a bowler at international level.

He has also taken just five wickets in the four completed ODIs.

"You have days where it doesn't go so well but you learn from that and move on, and there's no better feeling than closing out a game," Southee said.

"That's what keeps you coming back, that satisfaction."

Saturday's tussle will be the first time the two sides have met at Eden Park in an ODI since the 2015 World Cup semi-final, which the Kiwis snatched at the death.

But Southee said memories of the four-wicket, second-last-ball victory had been kept at bay on Thursday and Friday.

The Black Caps expected South Africa, who felt they'd performed to just two-thirds capacity in the series so far, to reach a new level.

"One of our strengths as a side is that we learn from games but also park it and move on, and then prepare," Southee said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon