Bangladesh vs South Africa | Wednesday 15 July | Chittagong | 11:00
Bangladesh’s victory over South Africa in the second ODI of the series was eight years and eight completed one-day matches in the waiting. It was only their second win over the Proteas in their history and the Tigers will be motivated to force another upset in Chittagong and secure the series against the odds. The outcome of this match will decide the series and is probably a good test of what this young South African squad is capable of under pressure. For Bangladesh, a win would see them secure ODI series victories over Pakistan, India and South Africa in succession, a feat previously thought far beyond the subcontinental nation.
To Win Match
South Africa 3/10
The Tigers secured their spot in the 2017 Champions Trophy by virtue of their victory over South Africa last time out, jeopardising the chances of qualification for both Pakistan and the West Indies. Bangladesh won the match on the back of a wily, disciplined bowling attack who kept tight lines, used subtle changes of pace to good effect and increased pressure on the opposition with tricky spin. The Tigers followed this up with a solid batting performance highlighted by an aggressive 88 not out from Soumya Sarkar. He found an able partner in Mahmudullah who scored a measured fifty before succumbing shortly before the win was secured. The victory would have filled Bangladesh’s young batting contingent with confidence, the likes of Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman and Litton Das new to the setup. Sarkar’s lack of fear in taking on the South African attack can only bode well for the attitude of the future generation. The batsman rated his most recent knock better than the century he scored against Pakistan. Rubel Hossain made a successful return to the side by picking up two key wickets. He had previously been sacrificed for an extra batsman but Bangladesh should retain him ahead of this contest. 19-year-old paceman Mustafizur Rahim impressed yet again and earned himself a call up to the Test side, set for action next week.
It was only the second time that South Africa had been bowled out in sixteen ODIs against Bangladesh, both of which were won by the Tigers. Indeed, South Africa’s 162 was their lowest total batting first in one-day international cricket since 2009. The Proteas could not even muster a partnership of thirty or more and as Farhaan Behardien struck 36 with the tail he illustrated the careless attitude employed by the South African middle-order. A modicum of patience was required against an accurate bowling attack. What will also trouble South Africa is the poor form of their opening batsmen. Quinton de Kock has played eleven ODIs in 2015 and has scored a paltry 186 runs at an average of 18.6. Additionally, this is currently the first time since Hashim Amla’s first six innings of his ODI career that he has gone six consecutive innings without a fifty-plus score. While the Proteas will be disappointed with the loss, they have largely dominated the tour so far. They will realise that victory in the third ODI should be achieved if they stick to the basics and execute their strategies.
The tour finally moves out of Dhaka to settle in Chittagong before a return to the capital for the final Test. Bangladesh have a strong record in Chittagong and since 2010 have only lost one ODI match at the ground, against Pakistan in 2011. However, the Tigers have not faced a great deal of top quality opposition at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. There is a 50% chance of rain forecast.
VERDICT: South Africa 3/10
Despite the recent hiccup, the Proteas should compose themselves and shut out the series. They have a talented batting lineup that generally won’t fail twice. The bowling attack is young but skillful and should extract enough out of a better pitch in Chittagong to pose some problems for Bangladesh. Don’t think too hard here. Back the favourites and move on.