South Africa vs England: Preview and Prediction

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South Africa will be looking forward to winning their third match of the tournament

South Africa will lock horns against defending champions England on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium, Maharashtra. Coincidentally, both England and South Africa have recently suffered surprising losses against Afghanistan and the Netherlands respectively. 

Hence, the win is important for both the teams but the Poms will be more desperate to get the better of the Proteas because they have won only one of their three matches so far in the tournament.

For the defending champions, red-ball skipper Ben Stokes is expected to return to the playing XI which might force the underperforming Chris Woakes to make way for the hero of the 2019 CWC final. On the other hand, the Proteas are expected to field the same combination of players after the upset against the Netherlands.

What have they done so far?

South Africa started their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign with a thrilling win over Sri Lanka. Playing at the Arun Jaitley stadium and after the early dismissal of skipper Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock Aiden Markram, and Rassie van der Dussen scored centuries for the Proteas.

Sri Lanka had to chase a target of 429, which was the highest in the history of the ICC World Cup. With the help of three wickets from Gerald Coetzee, the South African side stopped Sri Lanka from chasing the target and won the match by 102 runs. 

In the second match, the Proteas squared off against Australia and de Kock scored another century to guide his side to a strong total. While chasing the target, the Australian batting line-up collapsed dramatically as not even a single player managed to score a half-century allowing South Africa to win the match by 134 runs. 

Nevertheless, one of the biggest surprises of the 2023 ICC World Cup came when the Netherlands defeated South Africa by 38 runs in Dharamshala. The Proteas also got flashbacks of the 2022 ICC T20I World Cup, where the Dutch side stopped the Proteas from qualifying for the semi-finals. 

On the other side, England played the inaugural match of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup against New Zealand. In the replay of the 2019 World Cup final, the Blackcaps emerged victorious with a margin of nine wickets. Centuries from Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra were enough to sink the English hopes of a winning start.

England’s only win in the tournament yet came against Bangladesh. Dawid Malan’s 140-run inning helped the Poms post a target of 365 on the scoreboard for the Tigers. However, after Reece Topley’s four-wicket haul, Bangladesh failed to compete against England and lost the match by 137 runs. 

Another major upset was witnessed in the World Cup when Afghanistan defeated England by a margin of 69 runs. The absolute underdogs wrote an unforgettable story at the Arun Jaitley stadium, which will be forever remembered by the world of cricket. The English batters failed to answer the spin prowess of Afghanistan and eventually ended up losing the match.

Head to Head Record

England and South Africa have squared off against each other for a total of 69 times in ODIs. The Proteas have won 33 matches while England has managed to walk out victorious on thirty occasions. Five of their matches have resulted in no contest and they have also played a draw.

Apart from touring cricket, the teams have locked horns against each other on seven occasions on neutral grounds. Similarly, at the 2023 ICC World Cup, they’re meeting at Wankhede Stadium, which is among the most well-known cricket grounds for all the cricket fans in the sub-continent.

Earlier this year, the two teams played a three-match ODI series, which was played in South Africa. The Proteas managed to win the series 2-1 and interestingly, except for a couple of players, the two teams will be playing with a similar team in the World Cup. 

Key Players

Quinton de Kock (South Africa): The wicketkeeper-batsman has been playing his last professional tournament before announcing his retirement from cricket. Hence, Quinton de Kock is keen to leave a mark on the biggest stage of the sport. He’s currently the third-highest run-scorer in the ongoing World Cup with 229 runs and an average of 76.33, just behind the likes of Devon Conway (249) and Mohammed Rizwan (248). 

The former Proteas skipper failed to score big runs against the Netherlands but he has already smashed two centuries in the tournament yet. Hence, the South African team as well as the fans will be hoping for another big inning from the bat of the 30-year-old.

Root’s contribution will be valuable alongside Ben Stokes who might return for this match

Joe Root (England): Joe Root is one of the most experienced players in the English squad. Over the years, he has adopted various batting styles under different coaches. From Brendon McCullum to Matthew Mott, Root has always managed to emerge as the lynchpin in the English batting line-up. 

The 32-year-old has scored two half-centuries in the ICC Cricket World Cup and he’s the second-highest top scorer for England with 170 runs, behind Dawid Malan, who has 186 runs. If England wants to keep their participation alive for the limited spots in the semi-final, Joe Root has to take the responsibility of scoring good runs. 

Predicted XIs 

South Africa: Temba Bavuma ©, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Lungi Ngidi

England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler © (wk), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley


Both sides have suffered a surprising defeat in their last match against the likes of Afghanistan and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, if they want to win, they have to keep their heads up high. 

Both teams have batters who are capable of playing at high strike rates and that will certainly come into play at the high-scoring Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.