Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
South Africa vs England | Tuesday 8 February | SuperSport Park Centurion | 13:30
The Proteas will be fighting for their lives as they take on the English in what could potentially be the deciding One Day International in the five-match series.
Can AB de Villiers and his men turn it around or will a rampant England secure the series with a win at SuperSport Park Centurion on Tuesday evening?
To Win Match
South Africa 8/10
The Proteas did put in a markedly improved performance from their defeat in the first One Day International in Bloemfontein, thanks largely to the efforts of Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada.
The two South African frontline bowlers needed to deliver after the horror show that Chris Morris and Marchant de Lange put on in Bloem. They delivered beautifully as Abbott was responsible for three wickets while Rabada and Morkel managed to return economy rates of under four to the over.
Imran Tahir was again ineffective as he toiled without much luck, completing his 10 overs without a wicket, while conceding 66 runs. JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien were okay without setting the world alight – exactly what their captain would have asked of them.
While the bowlers put in a decent shift at on Saturday, the batsmen failed to come to the party on what was a tricky pitch to bat on. The Proteas would have been looking for a solid opening partnership between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock at the top of the order, however, the former was dismissed in the second over following a corker of a delivery from Reece Topley which deflected off the pad and clipped off stump.
De Kock would follow soon after as he was trapped in front LBW off a Ben Stokes delivery after playing across the line. De Villiers joined his Affies compatriot, Faf du Plessis at the crease. The two would put on a further 45 runs before du Plessis was caught by Chris Jordan off the bowling of Adil Rashid just three short of his half-century.
The captain would be next to go after he was dismissed by Ben Stokes for 73 in an uncharacteristically slow innings. The South African skipper only returned a striker rate of 80.21, needing 91 balls to reach his 73. Duminy would also struggle to score quickly as his 47 came from 66 balls before he was also trapped in front by Topley.
While there were three South African batsmen that got decent starts, nobody managed to capitalise and produce a big score. This will have to change at Centurion on Tuesday if the South Africans are going to keep their series hopes alive. There is no doubting the talent of the top and middle order with Amla, de Kock, du Plessis, de Villiers, Duminy and Rossouw all more than capable of turning it on under pressure.
Rossouw will need to perform in the next match – assuming he makes the squad – or will be replaced by David Miller who has yet to make an appearance in the series thus far. Russell Domingo may well choose to add the experience of Miller to his side in place of Rossouw. Tahir will get another go despite his below-par performances so far, however, he will be under pressure knowing that David Wiese is waiting in the wings.
The English will be desperate to wrap the five-match series up on Tuesday, and with their current form they’ll be confident of doing just that. The individual performances of Jos Buttler, Reece Topley and Alex Hales have been the undoing of the Proteas thus far, a trend that continued in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
While Alex Hales won the man of the match award in Port Elizabeth for his 124-ball 99, I feel that Topley was just as deserving of the accolade following his magnificent performance with the ball in which he bagged figures of 4-55 in nine overs.
Buttler was probably the most the deciding factor as the sides headed toward the conclusion of play locked together. However, England’s wicketkeeper was at his destructive best as he hit three successive fours off an Abbott over before launching Imran Tahir for three successive sixes in the next over to effectively end the game as a contest.
Hales laid the platform for the successful chase with an unusually watchful innings. He was careful in terms of his shot selection choosing to rotate the strike more than find the fence. If anything, it was the sort of innings he needed to play in the Test series to cement his place atop the order with Alistair Cook. He’d have been bitterly disappointed with the nature of his dismissal, getting the finest of edges to wide delivery down the leg side.
Looking ahead, the likes of Roy, Hales, Eoin Morgan, Stokes and Buttler will be much more effective with the bat in hand on the Centurion surface which has traditionally been a batsman’s paradise. The English top and middle order will relish the chance of having the bat come onto the bat and we can definitely expect a big score or two.
I don’t really think that the English will make any changes to their side for the next One Day International. Their side looks more settled than it ever has, and with South Africa on the ropes, they’ll be confident of landing the knockout blow.
The Venue: SuperSport Park Centurion
Centurion has always been regarded as one of the quicker, bouncier wickets in South Africa. It tends to favour guys who hit the deck hard so Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Ben Stokes should be comfortable here.
It doesn’t offer much for the spinners, however, the batsmen will be more than happy to play on this wicket after the relatively slow pitch in Port Elizabeth. They’ll also get full value for shots as is always the case on the Highveld. The outfield is beautifully maintained and as a result, is one of the quickest in the country.
We might be in for a shortened game as there is a bit of rain predicted in the early afternoon. That being said, we should definitely get a result tomorrow evening.
Verdict: Hashim Amla: South Africa Top Batsman at 7/2
Calling a winner is proving to be quite difficult for this one. However, there is a bit of value floating around with Hash to top score for South Africa at 7/2. He loves batting here in this form of the game, averaging 62.77 in ten innings with three hundreds and one half-century. He looks good value to top score here and regain a bit of form.
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