Venue: Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Date: Sunday, February 9, 2020
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 had 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.
England were looking to reply with a big statement in Durban, but intermittent rain throughout the day meant that the contest was abandoned after just 11.2 overs of South Africa’s innings. The hosts were 72/2 at the time of the match being called as no result, with Reeza Hendricks knocking a sprightly 35 off of 34 deliveries.
The weather in Durban never looked like it was going to make a cricket match viable as the city was battered by storms overnight. The forecast for the final ODI in Johannesburg is also stormy – though not to the same degree – so we may get a rain-shortened contest here. It will be interesting to see if Bjorn Fortuin keeps his place in the side over the rested Lungi Ngidi, with the left-arm spinner having been set to make his debut in the last match but never actually seeing the field.
England are not expected to throw their stars back into the lineup after the washout in Durban. Eoin Morgan has talked multiple times how this series is less about winning and more about finding out about and developing some of the younger players. Chris Jodan has been a menace for Temba Bavuma in the last two games, so don’t be shocked to see him brought in to bowl when the heavy-hitting South African is at the crease.
Four of the last five teams that have chased a run total at this venue have finished with victory so that is something to keep in mind when we see who wins the toss. The covers being on should make the pitch more viable for bowlers as the moisture on the deck will make the ball move. England will be looking to pick up a win here to take into the final leg of the series and we like the favorites to do enough to come out on top at BetXChange.