Venue: Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2020
After watching Australia dominate the T20I series it was expected that the tourists would continue their march through the South African cricket teams with a comfortable win here in this ODI series. That, though, is not how the first game played out, with South Africa picking up a confident and comfortable win in Paarl.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the hosts were impressive with the bat in putting up a score of 291/7 after their 50 had been completed. This total was largely the work of Heinrich Klaasen as he slogged an unbeaten 123 off of 114 balls. Pat Cummins was the only Australian bowler that seemed settled as he took figures of 3/45 in the defeat.
Australia knew they had a decent total to chase but they never really got close to looking like they would run down the South African score. Steve Smith hit an efficient 76 from 94 balls, while Lungi Ngidi was a torrid force with the ball in his hand as he took 3/30 from eight overs. The Aussies were bowled out for 217 in 45.1 overs and they will have to be much improved in the second ODI.
The South Africa win was all the more impressive when you consider that Jannemann Malan was out lbw with the very first ball of the match. Often a blow like that will cripple a side and cause them to collapse, but the work of Klaasen in his maiden international ODI century put them right back on track.
The change they made by bringing in Kyle Verreyne paid off in spades as he put up 48 as the rolled up their total. It would be a surprise to see any changes in the batting lineup, but there could be a change in the bowling depending on how the wicket looks on Wednesday. More pace might be required instead of a second dedicated spinner which would see Keshav Maharaj miss out.
Australia’s biggest issue was their sluggish start to chase down a total of 292 that really gave them no chance towards the back end of their innings. With four high-end batsmen in the top four slots in the order, it is unlikely we will see any changes there, but the No. 6 spot is still an issue as D’Arcy Short wasn’t all that impressive. We could perhaps see Ashton Agar be pulled into that spot, but in reality, the Aussies just have to get the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith firing in this one.
South Africa’s dominance over Australia in the 50 over version of the game is now a stunning nine wins in their last 10 meetings. There has to be value in the outsiders – and home team – at 1.70 will BetXChange, if only for the fact that they seem to have the Aussies number at this point in time. We expect the big bats in the tourists’ lineup to get going here and for Australia to tie the series with a win as the favorites at 0.45.