Venue: Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban
Date: Friday, February 7, 2020
- South Africa – 1.50
- England – 0.55
The English tour of South Africa started poorly as they were bested by their hosts in the first of four Test matches. The English, though, were quickly able to turn their fortunes around in the longer format of the game, winning the final three Tests of the series on the bounce to claim that leg of their tour with a 3-1 series win.
This meant that South Africa has a point to prove in the first ODI at Newlands on Tuesday. After winning the toss and electing to field the South African bowlers went to work. Tabraiz Shamsi was the star as he took 3/38 in his 10 overs and England finished 258/8 after their 50 overs. Joe Denly – who has been in fine form this tour – top-scored with 87 from 103 balls.
Needing 259 to win the South African batsmen got into the English bowling early. Quinton de Kock was masterful in his time at the crease as he knocked 107 runs from 113 deliveries. The only English bowler to emerge with any credit was Chris Jordan who but in a five-over spell with numbers of 1/31. South Africa hit the 259 mark with just three wickets down and three overs to spare.
South Africa seemed desperate to win the opening match of the series and they were able to convert that desperation into victory thanks to some inspired performances. Tabraiz Shamsi and Jon Jon Smuts were both excellent with the ball, while the second wicket partnership of Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock did all the hard work to set up the hosts for the win.
It will be interesting to see how South Africa reacts should the influential de Kock lose his wicket early and their batting lineup have to cover for his expected runs.
It has been over three years since England lost a bilateral ODI series when they took a 2-1 series defeat at the hands of India. The English now needs to win two matches in a row to keep that record going after losing the opening one-dayer.
It will be interesting to see what – if any – changes England make to their team for this match. It is a squad seriously lacking in star power to some degree, with the likes of Jos Buttler, Mark Wool and the influential Ben Stokes all rested. Add in an injury to Jofra Archer and this is a largely second-string side. The top four in the England batting order will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this match.
One thing to watch for is the weather in Durban. If the clouds and rain move in then any talent gap between the two sides will be further reduced and South Africa will have a much better chance of winning. The underdogs are 1.50 to win with BetXChange and given the ability of their top of the order batsmen, it is worth a punt against an England side that looked rusty and underpowered in the first ODI.