Cricket: Ireland vs South Africa
3 Match ODI Series
11th-16th July 2021
1st Match Winner:
South Africa take on Ireland in what promises to be a fascinating 3-match series in the Emerald Isle. The hosts are still grappling with their attempts to establish themselves as a force within international cricket and their best results have come in the shorter format(s) of the game. South Africa meanwhile are very much a team in transition, but a recent series win in the West Indies will give them a much needed boost heading into this one.
It has been a gradual process to the elite of international cricket for the ‘Boys in Green’ who now have Test playing status.
Historic wins over England in both T20 and ODI cricket are etched into the fabric of Irish cricketing folklore, and they will be looking to call upon those experiences here.
They are a side littered with English County Cricketers, with Paul Stirling perhaps being the most recognisable at the top of the order, with his ability to take the game to the opposition unquestioned.
Andrew Balbirnie will captain the side and keep things ticking in the middle order, whilst Lorcan Tucker is an accomplished keeper behind the stumps.
Craig Young and Josh Little will likely spearhead an Irish attack that lacks experience but makes up for it with youthful exuberance and decent pace.
The Proteas head to Ireland with a strong squad in tow and they will be looking to put down a marker here, in a series they should (on paper) win easily.
Captain Temba Bavuma has plenty of experience within his side and he will also be looking to use the series to give some of his younger players some international cricketing exposure.
Aiden Markram is still the man to go to for consistent runs within the South African team whilst Rassie van der Dussen will be looking to provide support.
Quinton de Kock needs no introduction as one of the best wicket-keeper/batsmen in the world whilst the pace department of Lungi Ndidi and Kagiso Rabada will certainly give the Irish batsmen the hurry up.
Ireland vs South Africa 1st ODI – Best Bets
Having been in fine form for the best part of 12 months, Aiden Markram will be looking to cash in here against the Irish and get even more international runs under his belt.
Few players in world cricket are as explosive at the top of the order as Paul Stirling and he will be looking to take the game to South Africa’s pacemen from the outset in home conditions.
Pace is often the most valuable asset a bowler can have in any format and Kagiso Rabada has it in abundance and the Irish batsmen could be in for a torrid time in this series.
Whilst the odds suggest otherwise, this could be a very close game in Dublin. Ireland are very adept at playing in home conditions and if the white ball offers some lateral movement, they will be in the game from the outset. That said, South Africa look to be a team on the up – with a potent blend of youth and experience and with plenty of match-winners in their squad, the Proteas should prevail here in both the first match and the 3-game ODI series.