Monday, February 8, 2016

South Africa Search for the Winning Concoction

England Vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Centurion - Match Preview

Two matches in to the ODI series and South Africa are already in grave danger of losing the series and they will need to step up if they are to stop England winning at Centurion. Not that there has been too much to choose between the two sides as South Africa were in with a chance to scale down the mammoth 399 set by England at Bloemfontein, and then again when England slid to 202-5 in the 42nd over at Port Elizabeth chasing 263 on a sluggish pitch. It is just that England have grabbed the important moments better and currently seem to be playing an licentious brand of cricket helping them cross the line.

Jason Roy and Alex Hales have given solid starts to England in both the matches and they will look to carry on with their good form at the top of the order. Root was slow at Port Elizabeth as he struggled to come to terms with the slow pitch but he still made runs. England's most impact player is Jos Buttler, who has the confidence to tear in to any bowling line up at the moment and he is doing just that in this series. He made a superb 105 off just 76 balls in the first ODI and then followed it up with a 48* off just 28 balls on a difficult pitch under pressure. They also have Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali who are all attacking players and can grind any attack in to the dust.

On the other hand the Protea batting line up seems too dependent on just a few players and with Hashim Amla not firing in both the matches the pressure on the middle order is all too consuming. Quinton de Kock made that splendid ton in the losing cause in the first ODI and Faf has had two good innings at number three and these two will need to carry on. AB de Villiers was snaffled on both occasions to Fantastico catches and he will hope that he gets third time lucky. Duminy, Rossouw and Behardien have all had a sub-standard series up until now as South Africa have lacked the finishing touches in the death overs.

The English bowling too seems to be having a greater depth and variety with spin options in Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali doing the damage in the second match. Reece Topley and David Willey have been economical and have picked up wickets as well so there is no reason for the English to consider making any changes unless they want to bring in Woakes for Jordan who has been the most expensive of English bowlers.

Kasigo Rabada and Kyle Abbott replaced Merchant de Lange and Chris Morris for the second match and they both immediately made a difference, transforming an ordinary looking bowling side in to a more penetrating one. Morne Morkel has also been at his best but it is the combination of Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien that has been hurting them the most.

South Africa will be looking to get a win under their belt to keep the series still alive and they have the ammunition to do so but the confidence and the swagger that the English are currently playing with is just making their job that bit harder.

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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