Despite highest impact player, New Zealand receives a pasting

New Zealand vs South Africa ODI Series Review

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

After a hard-fought T20 series, which ended in a shocking choke by the Kiwis from a winning position in the decider, the ODI series promised an interesting set of matches. The first match began well for New Zealand, as they scored 253 and had South Africa teetering at 35 for 3. But some individual brilliance from AB de Villiers’ got them out of that hole however, and this time that appeared to be the defining blow. For the rest of the series, for the most part, South Africa called the shots quite comprehensively.
Here is an overview of the series through the Impact Index lens.


New Zealand captain and wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was interestingly the highest-impact player in the series. His Batting IMPACT of 3.32 in the series (for his 56, 85 and 47) was second only to Amla’s. McCullum absorbed considerable pressure in all the 3 matches as a batsman (which also gave him the highest Pressure IMPACT amongst all New Zealand batsmen). He had an IMPACT of 0.92 as a wicketkeeper…all of which eventually made him the only player to cross an IMPACT of 4 in the series.

To complement McCullum’s excellence as a wicketkeeper-batsman, South African wicketkeeper AB de Villiers was the highest impact player for his team. Almost single-handedly, he won the first ODI for South Africa with the bat (106 off 106, IMPACT 8.06 – the highest impact batting performance in the series), and then produced neat finishing touches in the next two (unbeaten innings of 31 and 9). He had the highest Chasing/ Finishing IMPACT in the series as well as Pressure IMPACT (along with JP Duminy). His wicketkeeping IMPACT was a high 1.26 – and he was eventually also the only player in the series who had an all-round impact (an IMPACT of over 1 in any two functions). It eventually helped him register an IMPACT of 3.72 overall.  

Morne Morkel achieved this identical impact of 3.72 just with the ball, which is what his 7 wickets at 12 at an economy of 4.7 translated to, in just two matches. It made him the highest impact bowler in the series, and the third-highest impact player of the series. The South African bowling had Tsotsobe (2.91), Kallis (1.83), Steyn (1.31) and Peterson (1.22) crossing an IMPACT of 1 for the series. Moreover, Morkel, Tsotsobe and Kallis had a 0% failure rate while bowling in all three matches.

Conversely, only two New Zealand bowlers managed to cross Bowling IMPACT of 1 in the series – KD Mills (1.22) and RJ Nicol (1.08) – a very telling picture for the series. Not a single Kiwi managed a 0% failure rate as a bowler (except Michael Bates, but he played only one match).

Hashim Amla’s performances in the second game (92 off 117, IMPACT 5.97) and third game (76 off 89, IMPACT 5) while chasing, made him the highest impact batsman in the series from both sides (and the fourth-highest impact player of the series). He failed only once in his three matches and overall, registered an impact in all batting parameters – Strike Rate IMPACT, Pressure IMPACT, Partnership-building IMPACT and Chasing IMPACT. It was a complete batting performance by him in the series.

Jacques Kallis registered the highest Partnership Breaking IMPACT in the series. His efforts in the first match (dismissing McCullum at 137-3) and the second (Guptill at 131-2) were breakthroughs at crucial junctures, which had a noticeable impact in South Africa’s fortunes in the series.

Marchant de Lange (4 for 46 in 9 overs, Bowling IMPACT 4.71) for South Africa and Colin de Grandhomme (36 off 36, IMPACT 2.73) for New Zealand made impressive debuts in the third match.

Eventually, amongst the top ten impact players of the series (minimum two matches), only two were New Zealanders. This dominance is reflected amply in the Team IMPACT numbers for the series too – 2.45 for South Africa. 1.50 for New Zealand. It was an unqualified thrashing.

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