Pretorius, Phehlukwayo provide Domingo plenty of cheers
In their most dominant performance on the tour of New Zealand so far, South Africa regained the one-day series lead with the kind of showing that coach Russell Domingo believes typifies their new style of play.
It is a brand of cricket built on shared responsibility with new members of the squad as able to contribute as some of the stalwarts. Dwaine Pretorius' career-best 3 for 5 from 5.2 overs on the back of a maiden half-century in Christchurch is the best example of it.
"It's been a feature of our side's performances over the last year that the younger players have all come in and put in performances straight away which speaks a lot about where the team is at the moment and the culture of the group," Domingo said. "It's always pleasing when some new players are stepping up nor relying on one or two players."
And Pretorius is not the only one. Twenty-year-old Andile Phehlukwayo has emerged as a long-term all-round prospect and in the batting department, Quinton de Kock is one of the leading players in the world.
Although AB de Villiers, who became the fastest to 9000 ODI runs, was the man of the moment in Wellington, South Africa's recent ODI successes have been built on the foundations de Kock has laid. As he did in Test cricket last year, de Kock has reeled off five consecutive fifty-plus scores in ODIs. He has yet to convert one of his three in New Zealand into a century, but Domingo brushed that off as part of the game.
"He has got a phenomenal rate of transferring those fifties to hundreds so I'm sure he'd be disappointed he hasn't got a hundred because he is playing as well as he has ever played. I suppose he would feel a little disappointed in the manner of some of his dismissals. That's the nature of how he plays.
"He is such an aggressive player and I by no means want to curb his natural instinct. He is an x-factor player and some days he is going to get it wrong and that's okay but on the days he gets it right, he is going to win the game for you. He is still a baby, its hard to believe he is only 24. We've had some great players play international cricket for South Africa, who've got 10 or 11 hundreds in 200 games. He has got 12 in 77. That's a phenomenal return for a young player like that."
At this early stage of de Kock's career, he already lies sixth on South Africa's ODI century-makers' list above a big name like Graeme Smith. The former captain played 196 ODIs and scored 10 centuries, de Kock could go on to double or even treble that. Also below de Kock is JP Duminy, who has played 170 ODIs and only has four hundreds to his name, three against Zimbabwe and one against Netherlands.
Duminy has not registered three figures in two years, since the 2015 World Cup. In that time, he has managed just four fifties. Although he can cite limited opportunity - Duminy usually bats at No.5, behind players who don't often leave him with many overs to face - by his own admission, there have been chances wasted.
After the Christchurch ODI, where he was given a chance at No 4, Duminy explained he understood he needed to step up. "A lot of us got in but we didn't take it home for the team. That's something we need to look at - especially myself, getting in and not taking it home for the team," he said.
He was unable to in Wellington, where he was run-out and his string of low scores - only one over 30 in seven innings - could raise concerns, especially with Farhaan Behardien waiting on the bench.
Some pressure for his place may be just what Duminy needs to kickstart a change in fortunes, as it did in Tests. After being dropped last summer during the series against England, Duminy returned with a much improved mindset and scored two important hundreds, in Perth and in Johannesburg, to prove he still has plenty to offer. The upcoming Tests will be another chance for Duminy to build on that progress.
Eight members of the Test squad, who are not part of the limited-overs outfit, will arrive in Auckland on Sunday, where they will begin a week-long camp. Batting coach Neil McKenzie and fitness trainer Greg King will break away from the ODI group to oversee the Test players' preparations. South Africa do not have a warm-up match before the series starts in Dunedin on March 8 but all their players have been in action in the domestic one-day cup.
Among them are the two senior seamers, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, who are the favourites to make up a pace pack with Kagiso Rabada, although South Africa have three other quicks in reserve. Rabada will be the most worked of all of them, with South Africa well aware of his importance to every XI. Rabada was left out of the Christchurch game with a knee niggle and returned in Wellington and Domingo has explained that its unlikely Rabada will be given time off with the series still on the line.
"It's a fine line between resting players and trying to win series. You've got to try and and manage that process quite carefully, particularly for a guy like KG. I read the other day that he bowled 200 overs more than anybody else in the last year. He is only 21," Domingo said. "But its hard to leave KG out of the next game in Hamilton. He is a seriously good bowler and it's no coincidence that when he is back in the mix, we look a seriously good side."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent