South Africa vs England | Sunday 14 February | Newlands | 09:30
Imran Tahir and Chris Morris stole the show as South Africa won the fourth One Day International by one wicket to draw level with the English.
The series will now be decided in the final match at a packed Newlands on Sunday afternoon. Can the Proteas complete the comeback or will the English break South African hearts in the Mother City? Let's find out!
To Win Match
South Africa 7/10
The Proteas will be buzzing after following their victory over the English at the Wanderers on Friday evening. While the win will have pleased Russell Domingo, his top and middle orders’ inability to capitalise of decent starts will worry him. Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Farhaan Berhardien and David Wiese all managed to settle and work their way into the twenties before being dismissed.
Had it not been for Morris’ heroics toward the latter part of the innings, the South Africans may well have entered the fifth and final ODI having already lost the series. The Lions’ all-rounder went some way in justifying his massive IPL price tag as he smashed his way to a 38-ball 62. He was particularly devastating on the pull where he seemed to pick up length better than anyone else on the day.
He had a decent enough day with the ball too, claiming one wicket and conceding 52-runs in his nine overs. He display was a throwback to Lance Klusner in his heyday when he would bat with ruthless aggression whilst offering his captain a more than capable bowling option.
There was also a return to form for Imran Tahir. The leg-spinner put in the sort of performance that we have become accustomed to seeing from the Pakistan-born South African. On a surface that did the spinners no favours, he consistently hit the right line and length picking up three wickets and conceding just 46 runs. Kagiso Rabada also continued to impress as he returned the most economical figures on the day, picking up four wickets at 4.57 runs an over.
The one big worry the Proteas management will have leading into the final ODI is the form of Duminy. He continues to struggle against the spinners and was trapped LBW by Rashid in the 28th over. He could well be replaced in the squad by specialist batsman, David Miller for the final ODI.
It’s difficult to tell whether or not Morne Morkel will make his way back into the side. The only player I can see him coming in for is David Wiese. However, Wiese’s ability with the bat could well save him his place in the side. In my opinion, batting deep against a massively destructive English side will prove more valuable than Morkel’s inclusion in the playing XI.
Trevor Bayliss would have been furious following a well below par display in the field by his charges. Morris was dropped by Adil Rashid at mid-off and was again let off the hook when Eoin Morgan missed the stumps when they seemed easier to hit. Alex Hales dropped Duminy at second slip while de Villiers was dropped by Jason Roy. To top it all off, Jos Buttler missed a regulation stumping when Berhardien was on 15.
England perhaps lost the game well before that, though. A rubbish batting display by majority of the top and middle order saw the visitors slump to 108-6. The collapse saw Hales, Morgan, Ben Stokes, Buttler and Moeen Ali lose their wickets for the addition of just 21 runs before Root and Chris Woakes put on a 95-run partnership to steady the listing English ship. Root would later go on to record his eighth ODI century before he was caught by Tahir off the bowling of Morris.
They will need a much improved performance from the likes of Roy, Morgan Stokes and Buttler if they are to come away with a series win on Sunday evening. When these guys fire, they can beat anyone in world cricket, although they all have a penchant for giving their wickets away cheaply by playing thoughtless shots.
Morgan will be under huge pressure to deliver the goods on Sunday. He’s had a poor tour thus far by his immense standards. Scores of 23, 29, 8 and 2 are simply not good enough for good enough for someone of his enormous talent. Stuart Broad will also need to prove his worth in the shorter format of the game after he put in and ordinary performance on Friday. His seven overs went for 55 runs while he only managed one wicket.
Whether or not the English management decided to change anything up remains to be seen. Roy will be under a bit of pressure while Chris Jordan and Broad will be in contention for place in the side.
Verdict: South Africa 7/10
The Proteas will be buoyed by their last two performances in which they’ve managed to level the five-match series. With a return to form from Imran Tahir and a massively dangerous top order, I’m backing the Proteas to claim the series when the two sides go head to head in Cape Town on Sunday – you should too!
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