South Africa v England – Third ODI at 11:30 live on Sky Sports 2
Wins at Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth means an ever increasingly impressive England ODI side are just one win away from a second overseas series victory this winter after the pre-Christmas win in the UAE against Pakistan. AB de Villiers and his South African side will be desperate to keep the series alive after the Test match series ended as a contest after the third game.
Currently it looks like the second half of the match could be impacted by some typical South African Highveld thunderstorms. The first innings shouldn’t be impacted in regards any over/under runs bet, which of course is good for this column.
Supersport Park, Centurion is usually a decent track for batsman but overhead conditions can assist swing and seam. The Test match pitch wasn’t all that flat with signs of variable bounce.
Here is a list of the last ten completed scores in 50 over cricket (most recent first) – 304, 361* (42 overs), 301, 179, 191, 250, 250, 331, 200, 257 – Average of 262
South Africa have batted first in 18 of 26 completed ODIs since the start of 2015 with an average score of 306 runs. They’ve passed 400 on four occasions and 262 or more 15/18.
England have batted first in 13 of 27 completed ODIs since the start of 2015 with an average score of 281. They’ve made 399 or more twice (including the first ODI of this series) and 283 or more 9/13.
You’d have got good money on the only opener on show in the first two games not making a telling contribution being Hashim Amla. Clean bowled twice to two different left arm seamers for single figure scores shouldn’t concern a man averaging over 51, but South Africa simply need more from their linchpin. Faf du Plessis keeps getting in and getting out (44, 55) whereas skipper de Villiers’ dismissal for 73 in the previous game halted the hosts charge when they looked set to make 300-plus. JP Duminy continues to struggle having passed fifty just once in his last eleven ODIs. The bowling attack continues to look toothless with Kasigo Rabada going wicket-less on his return at Port Elizabeth – though returning to Centurion, scene of his thirteen wicket haul in the Test last month, should surely inspire. Morne Morkel might be rested after such a high recent workload.
England are getting reward for sticking with Alex Hales in ODIs. A match winning hundred in the UAE was followed up with a mature 99 a few days ago in the successful PE run chase. Jason Roy bashed 48 off just 30 in the first match, suggesting England may finally have found an opening pair to stick with. Root, Morgan and Stokes all look in fine form having all made contributions to England’s two wins to date. Chris Jordan is the only concern in the XI, being in danger of becoming classed as a (brilliant) specialist fielder, after his ten overs in the series to date have gone at a shade over eight runs per over. Adil Rashid is a much more mature, experienced bowler than the one that bowled here in a T20I back in 2009 – his one solitary over got smacked for 25 as South Africa racked up 241/6. Left armers David Willey and Reece Topley continue to impress, with the latter taking a career best 4-50 in the PE victory last time out.
Quinton de Kock is becoming one of the most valuable opening batsmen in ODI cricket. In 54 matches, the inform left handed wicket-keeper bat averages over 42 with an incredible nine hundreds. He also has a further five scores above fifty, showcasing a quite brilliant conversion rate of 50s to 100s. A career strike rate of 92 runs per 100 balls is nearly as impressive as that ever growing average. An unbeaten 129* in the final Test against England means he will have good recent memories of the ground.
If you’re looking for an example of a player needing to be dropped to regain his confidence, Jos Buttler is your man. Since being left out the Test side after a poor show in the UAE, the ever dynamic Buttler has contributed significantly to several victories with recent scores reading 48*, 105, 116* and 49* in his last four ODI knocks. Trevor Bayliss’ England have shown a desire to be more flexible with their batting line up, sending Jos in as high as number four in this series. A long overdue master-stroke.
The lower scoring game in Port Elizabeth on Saturday was a gentle reminder that although batting is getting easier by the year in ODIs, we should always keep an eye out for a slow surface that can scupper any over runs bet. This might just be another ‘tired’ surface so tread careful, this despite both sides strength being with the willow.
If South Africa bat first I recommend taking any OVER RUNS bet around the 268-273 mark.
If England bat first I recommend taking any OVER RUNS bet around the 275-280 mark.