Number 13 turned out to be unlucky for the Proteas on Wednesday as they lost the second ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch by six runs.
South Africa had hoped to extend their personal record of consecutive wins in the 50-over format but the struggles of Sunday’s first game clearly spilled over into this match.
Chasing a substantial 290, the Proteas seemed out of the picture when they slumped to 214/8.
But if there’s one remarkable feature of this current group it’s how the all-rounders continually push each other for a spot in the side.
This time round it was the Highveld Lions’ Dwaine Pretorius that proved to be a star.
After delivering a fine spell of 2/40 in his 10 overs, the 27-year-old stalwart smashed a brilliant 50 off just 27 balls.
His game-awareness is special and an indication of the value of learning your game inside-out in franchise cricket for a few years.
Andile Phehlukwayo was a decent if slow partner for him.
In fact, the commentators criticised the hero from the first match for not trying a few more different shots against some superb New Zealand death bowling by Trent Boult (3/63) and Tim Southee.
Perhaps that was justified – especially when Phehlukwayo hit the last two balls for boundaries when it was too late – but one shouldn’t forget that he’s still only 20-years-old.
Instead, the Proteas were let down by senior men who didn’t convert their starts.
Quinton de Kock (57) was the anchor before playing a poor shot; JP Duminy (34) was stumped; David Miller (28) missed a late cut and AB de Villiers (45) misjudged a slower ball.
You can’t really blame Pretorius and Phehlukwayo, who have a combined 17 caps between them.
If anything, they did a fine job.
De Villiers’ decision to bowl first proved a dodgy one.
With Kagiso Rabada having to sit out due to a sore knee, no-one except Pretorius kept the scoring in check.
The veteran Ross Taylor broke the record for most ODI centuries for the Black Caps, striking a brilliant, unbeaten 102 off 110 – his 17th ton.
Captain Kane Williamson provUnlcided fine support with 69 before Jimmy Neesham – a man under pressure to justify his place – chipped in with a vital 71 off 57.
New Zealand’s total will once again raise questions over the Proteas attack’s firepower.