Friday, February 5, 2016

South Africa Keen to Stage a Quick Comeback

England Vs South Africa, 2nd ODI at Port Elizabeth - Match Preview

An energized English outfit will look to continue their ascendancy as they face off with the South African side at Port Elizabeth. The current England side are a pale shadow of what they were in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 when they cut a sorry figure with no flair and lacked imagination.

This current side bears almost no resemblance and is a much improved upgraded version that has fixed a lot of bugs and removed all the malware that was slowing their system down. This is a young and peppy side, full of new faces who play cricket fearlessly and who are not scared to play shots which find no mention in the MCC coaching manuals.

Alex Hales, a man who cut a sorry figure in the test matches looks a changed man in the ODI format. Hales, along with the sprightly Jason Roy, now provide English with a flying start. Joe Root has been a rock at number three and he is their most complete batsman, adept at either attacking play or at adopting a much calmer approach. Then there is Jos Buttler, who has thrilled the English fans with his uninhibited stroke-play. He was the man who smashed 105 in just 76 balls in the first ODI and set up the game for them.

The lower middle order also has accomplished batsmen who are naturally attacking players. Eoin Morgan, the captain of this side slots in at 5. Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali come in at 6 and 7 to complete the riot act. This batting line up might not come off every time and will surely fail, even combust on bad days but when they fire on their good ones, rarely will the English team lose.

The South African batting, on the other hand revolved around Quinton de Kock in the first ODI when his sublime 138* off just 96 balls almost managed to nudge the Proteas towards the victory before their charge was halted by rain. Faf also batted aggressively after having a horrid in the tests against India and England.

But South Africa will depend heavily upon Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers to bail them out on most occasions and these two players will have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in tough situations.

The bowling from both the sides left much to be desired at Bloemfontein as batsmen played the lead role throughout the match. Kyle Abbot might be brought in for Merchant de Lange who went for 87 in his 10 overs. Kasigo Rabada, the bowler who has made the most impact for South Africa recently, also waits in the wings and he might swap places with Morris.

England might not tinker with their bowling line up yet, but they do have Chris Woakes and Steven Finn waiting in the wings for any chance. Chris Jordan was tonked in the first ODI and he went for 56 in his 5.3 overs and he might be a good candidate for replacement.

The five match series is perfectly set up and a Protean comeback cannot be ruled out. Rain halted the South African charge mid-way and full game might have resulted in a different winner!

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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