Thursday, February 11, 2016

South Africa take on England at the Bullring in Johannesburg

It has been a close series thus far between South Africa and England, with the current ebbing and flowing with each passing over. The fourth ODI will be played at Johannesburg, a high scoring ground by tradition and batsmen from both sides will be licking their lips to have a crack here.

South Africa roared back in the series at Centurion chasing a huge total of 318 with relative ease, helped by Fantastico tons from Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. Their batting has been humming with de Kock getting two big 100's in the 3 matches while Faf du Plessis has also made quick runs. De Villiers had a quiet start but made a well compiled 70 odd in the second match to lead South Africa to a decent total. The form of JP Duminy and Rilee Rossouw is a concern though as they have not looked convincing at all at the crease. It is because of them that South Africa is struggling in the death overs to hit quick runs.

The English batting line up has seen vital contributions from each member at some point in the series with Hales, Buttler and Stokes doing the major damage for them. Hales could not lay bat on ball in the test series but he's now made three half centuries on the trot including a match winning 99 he made on a slow pitch at Port Elizabeth. Buttler and Stokes have provided the fire with their aggressive stroke making while Root, their best batsman made a flamboyant ton in the last game albeit in a losing cause.

The South African bowling was run ragged in the first match but the addition of Kyle Abbott and Kasigo Rabada has made a huge difference and now it looks threatening and dangerous. Morne Morkel had been carrying the work load in the middle overs and doing it quite well. It is in the spin department that they seem to be severely hampered at the moment with Imran Tahir failing to create any impact on the English batsmen, giving runs whilst also not picking up wickets.

The English bowling, meanwhile have bowled well in patches but they will have to find an answer to de Kock who has had a vice like grip on them. Topley and Willey did extremely well in the first two ODI matches where they claimed early wickets and also were economical but in the third ODI they were unsettled by De Kock and Amla who forced them off their lengths with their stroke play. Stokes has also bowled well and got the important breakthroughs while Rashid and Ali have also bowled quite beautifully, keeping the runs down while also picking up wickets in the middle overs which had slowed down the Proteas admirably.

South Africa will again have to dig deep in their reserves and pull off a magical performance like they did in Centurion, in order to keep the series still alive. England have played a very attacking brand of cricket up until this moment and even though they lost at Centurion, they do not need to make any major changes to their game plan.

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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