Hosts boost hopes of World Cup qualification as champions face longest losing streak since 2014
South Africa aiming for series sweep
Although South Africa has won the series, their objective is not yet complete because they still need one more victory to move up to the top eight of the World Cup Super League. Even though England’s reign as world champion has waned somewhat recently, two victories over the Netherlands at home have helped them feel a little more secure. However, these are narrow margins, and even a minor error like an over-rate penalty could determine whether India advances directly to the tournament later this year or plays in the qualifier in Zimbabwe.
South Africa defeated India 3-0 at home around this time last year, so reports of their demise—at least in this format—have proven to be unfounded. But after Temba Bavuma’s brilliant hundred inspired a record attempt in Bloemfontein, it’s possible that home supporters will start looking forward to the West Indies’ arrival in a few weeks rather than longing for the SA20 to return.
On Thursday, South Africa’s boxfresh ” T20 league will resume, and there have already been signs that players like Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada would be rested before travelling to the seaside for an evening match between MI Cape Town and Durban’s Super Giants.
However, under the temporary leadership of Shukri Conrad, the atmosphere in the camp appears to have improved, and there is a potential to hand Jos Buttler’s team a rare 3-0 defeat.
At the very least, you may classify it as unusual before quickly checking to find out that England also lost their most recent ODI series, a benighted stroke of scheduling following the T20 World Cup in Australia, 3-0. They now have a record of P11 W2 L8 since Buttler was appointed Eoin Morgan’s permanent replacement last year. It’s difficult to recall a situation where a victory was more necessary since the Morgan revolution started in 2015, even if the slogan of positivity persists on the outside and there is still plenty of time to develop strategies for the World Cup defence in October and November.
Buttler doesn’t need to worry about organising a defence and appears to be just as unflappable as his predecessor. Since the Australia series occurred just a few days after the skipper was photographed hosting the T20 World Cup on a Melbourne beachside, it is given a pass. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, and Mark Wood are not there, in part because to injuries and in part due to the fact that England now has complete men’s teams in both South Africa and New Zealand as a result of the schedule. Without mentioning Ben Stokes, the monarch over the water whose unretirement train is picking up speed.
He can also point out that an England team with a bit more experience playing ODI cricket would have anticipated winning both games in Bloemfontein.
The “Big Hole” is one of the popular tourist attractions in Kimberley, a mining region, but England still has time to get themselves out of trouble.
In the spotlight: Aiden Markram and Moeen Ali
Aiden Markram has played 45 ODIs while averaging 28.75 since making his ODI debut in October 2017. William Porterfield, who is already retired, is the only other top-four batsman to score 1000 runs in that span at a lower average.
Markram’s nickname is “Sauce,” presumably because he goes with everything, and in the second ODI, when he scored 49 runs off just 43 balls and also stole Harry Brook’s wicket, there were glimmers of his undeniable skill.
However, time is running out for him to convince South Africa that he can succeed in all three formats.
You would not consider Moeen Ali’s brisk half-century, which he achieved at a run rate better than one, to be all that notable. It is entirely more perplexing given his aggressive performance in Bloem was his first 50-plus score in an ODI since 2017. Moeen has always been a player whose individual performances transcend his more mundane metrics, but even by his high standards, his batting and bowling averages of 23.13 (strike rate 80.32) and 59.33 since the 2019 World Cup are disappointing. In the side that travels to India, he ought to be a lock for No. 6 or 7, but a run of form in this format would be welcome.
Team news: De Kock likely to miss out
De Kock, who suffered a hand injury while fielding during the second ODI, won’t be selected*; in his place, back-up openers Janneman Malan and Reeza Hendricks, the only two South Africans to score on Tuesday. Both of South Africa’s spinners, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, could be used depending on the situation, but none of the frontline quicks, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi, bowled during practise.
Janneman Malan and Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (captain), Rassie van der Dussen, and Aidan Markram 4, Heinrich Klaasen, no. 5 (wk), 6 Sisanda Magala, 7 Keshav Maharaj, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi.
If England decides to make batting changes, Phil Salt is now well and available, and the bowling attack will probably be changed as well.
Jofra Archer, who went 1 for 81 in his long-awaited England comeback last week and was slated to start for MI Cape Town the following day, might make his second appearance of the series.
Olly Stone was England’s finest bowler but may be in line for some workload restriction, while Chris Woakes and Reece Topley both took a beating in the second ODI.
Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Dawid Malan, Harry Brook, and Jos Buttler are all potential England players (capt & wk),
moeen ali 6
Chris Woakes (8),
11 Jofra Archer, David Willey, Adil Rashid, and 9
Pitch and conditions: Kimberley set to be hot and flat
Kimberley has not hosted an ODI since 2018, when Zimbabwe managed just 117 against an attack spearheaded by Rabada and Ngidi. But a flat surface is expected for this contest and soaring temperatures plus a short boundary suggests another round of 300-plus run-scoring could be in the offing. There have been heavy showers in the lead up but the forecast is clear for Wednesday.
Stats and trivia
England last suffered a five-match losing streak when playing ODIs at home against Sri Lanka and India in 2014. Since 2009, they have not suffered six straight losses.
South Africa is attempting to sweep England in an ODI series for the first time.
Only one ODI has been played at Kimberley before, an eight-wicket victory for England against Zimbabwe in 2000.
In ODIs, Wayne Parnell just needs two wickets to achieve 100. He will be the thirteenth South African to accomplish the feat.
“We’re in this to win; our goal is a 3-0 series victory. The proper players must be on the field, but our group is very strong and South Africa consistently turns forth outstanding cricketers. We’re going to have a full-strength team, regardless of who plays. The icing on the cake would be to be kind and professional.”
According to David Miller, the hosts want to ensure a victory.
“Our cricket has not been at its best. Even while we didn’t perform as well as we would have liked overall, there are some encouraging signs. We’re hoping to win the last game and wrap out the series successfully.”
Olly Stone makes an effort to gather the troops.
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