By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
An interesting T20 series ended dramatically as South Africa reversed a cricketing cliché. As the series headed to a climax where chasing looked like the only answer to winning these matches, New Zealand, from a position where they needed 24 runs in 28 balls with 7 wickets in hand, choked up as South Africa snatched victory from nowhere.
Here is an overview of the series through the Impact Index lens.
JP Duminy was the highest-impact player in the series. His batting performance of 38 runs in just 20 balls followed by a bowling spell where he gave away just 9 runs in 2 overs (increasing the required run rate from 6.3 to 7.2) had a Match IMPACT of 4.16 in the deciding T20I (which was the highest in the match for South Africa - and not Botha's bowling performance which got him the Man-of-the-Match for the drama that unfolded at the end) and therefore earned him Series Defining status as South Africa won the T20I series 2-1 with this match.
The Man-of-the-Match in the deciding game should actually have gone to Kiwi RJ Nicol. His performance in that match (2 for 20 runs in 3 overs and a run-out followed by 32 runs in 19 balls as an opener in the chase; the highest impact performance in the entire match) had set up New Zealand well in the chase and to clinch the series. Nicol produced a solid all-round performance in the series - the only all-rounder from both sides - in fact, his batting and bowling impact in the series was exactly the same (1.45) - which is interesting given his batting average of 23 and bowling average of 11.
MJ Guptill was the highest-impact batsman (Batting IMPACT 3.20) in the series from both sides, well ahead of the second-highest Duminy (2.37). Guptill had a 0 % failure rate in the series with the bat while Duminy failed in one of the three matches.
RE Levi gave the highest impact match performance of the series in the 2nd game when he made an unbeaten 117 runs in just 51 balls while chasing, to win the match handsomely for South Africa. This innings also gave him the highest Chasing IMPACT as well as Strike Rate IMPACT in the series. However, Levi failed to cross a Batting IMPACT of 1 in the remaining 2 matches in the series, somewhat reflecting his T20 Career high failure rate of 58%.
JP Duminy and JL Ontong were the only 2 batsmen in the series who absorbed pressure successfully while batting, for their effort in the 1st T20I to rescue their team from 52-4 to put up a respectable score of 147.
TG Southee was the highest impact bowler (Bowling IMPACT 2.69) in the series, closely followed by J Botha (2.52). While Southee had the highest Top/middle Order Wickets IMPACT in the series, Botha had the highest Economy IMPACT (ability to bowl tightly) in the series.
M Morkel had the highest Partnership Breaking IMPACT in the series for his effort in the last two matches in the series. Morkel was also the only bowler in the Series to have a 0 % failure rate, despite playing all 3 games.
J Botha's effort of 2 for 20 in 4 overs in the deciding match was the highest impact bowling performance in the series. This effort also earned the highest Economy IMPACT in the entire series as his 17th and 19th overs (gave away just 4 runs for the wicket of Ryder) in the match turned out to be highly significant.
Overall, South Africa had a Team IMPACT of 1.94 in the series as compared to New Zealand's 1.70. Nice tight series, some individual brilliance on show, with a dramatic and unexpected end. What else is there?
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com