1st ODI Date: Thursday, Sept 7 (Bloemfontein)
2nd ODI Date: Saturday, Sept 9 (Bloemfontein)
3rd ODI Date: Tuesday, Sept 12 (Potchefstroom)
4th ODI Date: Friday, Sept 15 (Centurion)
5th ODI Date: Sunday, Sept 17 (Johannesburg)
BetXchange 1st ODI Odds:
The second half of Australia’s white-ball tour of South Africa is set to get underway on Thursday in Bloemfontein. The Proteas were left with plenty of questions after their 3-0 T20I series drubbing at the hands of the tourists in Durban, and they will look to be much more competitive in the 50-over format.
The T20Is got off to a miserable start, with Australia cruising to a 111-run win in the series opener. This was Australia’s highest-ever T20I score against South Africa as they slogged away for 226/6 and South Africa’s heaviest-ever defeat in terms of runs in a T20I encounter against any opponent.
It didn’t get much better from there, with South Africa’s experimental side losing the 2nd T20I by eight wickets and the 3rd by five wickets. At least the batting improved as the series wore on, with South Africa knocking the ball for 190/8 from their 20 overs in the 3rd contest.
On the positive side, South Africa was able to blood new players in the international T20 game in Durban. Dewald Bresi and Gerald Coezee made their T20I debuts in the 1st match, while Matthew Breetzke and Donovan Ferreira did the same in the final match.
South Africa welcomes back a slew of stars for the ODIs. Quinton de Kock will be looking to impress after announcing his impending retirement, while the likes of David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen will boost the Proteas from what was – in all honesty – a second-string side in the T20Is.
South Africa was not the only team welcoming new players to the international game. The 1st T20I saw the debuts of Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson, Tanveer Sangha, and Matthew Short. Sangha was particularly impressive, claiming four wickets for just 31 runs in his four-over spell with the ball.
From there, it was the Sean Abbott show with the ball. He claimed 3/22 in the 2nd T20I as he was named Man of the Match before bowling 4/31 in the final contest. Mitchell Marsh held up the batting end in the first two matches, with the Australian putting in captain’s knocks of 92 not out (Man of the Match) in the first match and 76 not out in the second.
Both teams will be looking at this five-match series as a way to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the ODI World Cup in India.
I love Marsh at 3/1 to be the Aussie’s top batsman as he is in fine form, especially with him coming in at No. 3 behind avid Warner and Travis Head. He should do serious damage with the shine off of the ball in the longer format.
For the home side, I like Rassie van der Dussen to shine with the bat. His methodical way of playing suits the ODIs more than the T20I game, letting his teammates swing hard while he plays the enforcer on the wicket. He has a big score in him this series, and I like it to be in the first match.