England vs South Africa 1st ODI: Preview and Prediction
South Africa will be taking on the World champions England in a three-match ODI series starting on Tuesday. With the One Day World Cup still more than a year away, the primary focus for all the teams is currently on the T20 internationals but South Africa would still like to give their players much-needed workouts and identify a few slots to be filled before the mega event in India.
The series has gained more significance for South Africa ever since they announced the cancellation of the ODI series against Australia effectively forfeiting 30 ODI Super League points making it more difficult for them to finish in the top eight for direct qualification.
It also highlights the changing atmosphere with respect to cricket showcasing that the domestic franchise cricket is becoming the highest in terms of agenda for all the major nations.
England has announced a full-strength squad with Adil Rashid making a comeback after he took a break for personal reasons. Though he might find it difficult to make it to the XI with Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone taking care of the spin duties and doing a decent job in the ongoing series against India.
Moreover, having four seam bowlers in the playing XI gives more balance to England to play as a specialist spin bowler would take up an extra slot. The only area where England might be a little weak is their seam bowling department where they are yet to finalize the lead strike bowler ahead of the World Cup which is set to take place next year.
In their bowling department, they have been playing musical chairs in the past year or so and they would be looking to finalize their lineup in this format. The current front runners seem to be David Willey and Sam Curran due to their all-round abilities Recently, Willey did put up a good performance with the bat while Curran is yet to light up the format following his return from injury.
England has also included Matthew Potts, who earlier impressed in the summer Tests and would also like to take an additional look at Brydon Carse. However, Reece Topley has made a strong claim for the remaining slot with a stellar performance, picking up six wickets against India in the 2nd ODI.
The hosts will be hoping for a better show from their batters as their top order showed very little confidence at the crease. They will be especially hoping their talisman Joe Root gets some runs with Jonny Bairstow yet to show his best in the 50-overs format after his eye-catching batting against New Zealand and India in the red-ball format.
In terms of the squad, South Africa has announced an almost full-strength squad with only their captain and lead bowler ruled out due to fitness issues. Temba Bavuma sustained an elbow injury during the tour to India and Kagiso Rabada has been rested for the ODI leg.
Keshav Maharaj, who has previously led South Africa, will be at the helm in Bavuma’s absence. In the past ODI series for South Africa against Bangladesh, Rabada was the only bowler who looked threatening and managed to pick up a five-wicket haul. However, as he has been rested, the onus will be on the rest of the bowling pack to step up to the occasion.
On the batting front, they have looked slightly more settled with David Miller, Quinton De Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen all scoring runs in the past few series.
What have they done so far?
England will be coming in following some mixed performances in the white ball format. They lost 1-2 against India in the T20 internationals and they looked out of sorts in the ODI format as well, though they did manage to pull off a win against India in the 2nd ODI. They will be hoping to take inspiration from that match into this series.
However, they would be worried that they did let go of a two-nil lead against a team which was without many first-choice players. They would still look for solace in the fact that both the series were played in the subcontinent whereas the pitches in England should suit their players more.
Head to Head record
In terms of Head to Head stats, England and South Africa have locked horns 63 times. The hosts, England has won on 30 instances while South Africa has won on 28 occasions. Additionally, the two sides have played out a tie with four games between the two teams being washed out.
The most recent ODI series between the two sides saw both teams share the trophy. England began the series with a two-wicket win before the 2nd game was washed out. South Africa made a comeback winning the 3rd and final ODI by seven wickets.
Jonny Bairstow (England): Jonny Bairstow has been in red hot form across formats and should be a key player to watch out for. The fact that he was scoring at almost run a ball in Test matches against a strong New Zealand side and in the recently concluded 5th Test against India is a warning sign for the opposition.
David Miller (South Africa): From the time he was picked up by the Gujarat Titans in the IPL auction, David Miller has had a tremendous change of fortunes from being unsure of making it to the final XI, he is now one of the first names that will be written when the XI is put up. We can expect him to continue with his fireworks in this series as well.
Predicted Playing XI
England: Phil Salt, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (C), Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Craig Overton, David Willey, Reece Topley
South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
England looks the more balanced of the two sides on paper thanks to their strong suit of all-rounders and will be favorites to win this game. Notwithstanding the ongoing series against India, England has really played well and this has shown in the form of results as they head the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League table.