The Proteas wrapped up the two-match T20 series against hosts Bangladesh with consummate ease. The South Africans enter the ODI series on the back of 52-run and 31-run victories and ensured that the gulf between the two sides was stark, second-tier bowling attack or not. However, Bangladesh struggle in the T20 format while the ODI series should play to their strengths. The opening match in Dhaka will be the first contest to adhere to the new ICC fielding and free hit regulations. This will test the nuance of both captains as the teams are forced to adjust their World Cup tactics to accommodate the law changes.
To Win Match
South Africa 1/5
Following their first appearance in a World Cup quarter-final, Bangladesh went on to secure series wins against Pakistan and India on home soil in the fifty-over format. Despite a disappointing T20 series the Tigers will be motivated to show they are no pushovers in the one-day game. Mahmudullah and Anamul Haque return to the squad following time off for injuries and will be intent on making an impact. Mahmudullah could easily considered one of the dangermen in the Bangladeshi batting line-up and made his mark on the world stage with consecutive centuries against England and New Zealand in the recent World Cup. Rony Talukdar, Mominul Haque and Taskin Ahmed make way as Bangladesh shy away from experimentation over the next three matches. In the bowling department, the introduction of Mahmudullah means that he and Nasir Hossain will provide assistance to the spin specialists, Arafat Sunny and Shakib Al Hasan. Mashrafe Mortaza will lead the pace attack, ably supported by Rubel Hossain and promising youngster Mustafizur Rahman.
Hashim Amla returns to lead South Africa for the three-match ODI series in the absence of usual one-day captain and talisman, AB de Villiers. This should provide excellent continuity for the side ahead of the Test series, which is Amla’s domain. de Villiers would have been suspended for the first ODI due to a slow over-rate in the World Cup semi-final, his second such transgression in the space of twelve months. Considering de Villiers was also scheduled to miss the Test series on paternity leave, the Proteas came to the conclusion that it would be best to rest him for the remainder of the tour. Eddie Leie put in a magnificent performance on debut in the second T20 and will stay on with the ODI squad in a learning capacity as Imran Tahir returns. Ryan McLaren also forms part of the ODI squad after missing out on the World Cup. Along with Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris, McLaren is one of three all-rounders included as the Proteas look to pin down that position. With AB de Villiers missing, opportunities will arise for the likes of Rilee Rossouw and Farhaan Behardien in the middle-order. They’ll be looking to take the chances afforded them and perhaps break into the first-team for the long term.
Dhaka has proved a tough pitch for pace bowlers as it has been prepared low and slow and has played rather lifeless. There is purchase for the spinners while the seamers will need to rely on variation and change of pace to trouble batsmen. Prior to their last match at the ground against India, Bangladesh emerged victorious from eight straight matches at the Shere Bangla National Stadium. The weather report is rather bleak, with an 80% chance of rain forecast.
VERDICT: South Africa 1/5
The hosts will certainly fancy themselves to pull off an upset in this series and are fully capable of giving the Proteas a run for their money. However, South Africa have batsmen capable of navigating the tough conditions and a spin attack bolstered by the return of Imran Tahir, a huge threat on subcontinental pitches. The price is rather short so if you’re looking for some extra value, Imran Tahir for Top South Africa Bowler at 3/1 should do the trick.