South Africa’s tour of England gets underway today with the first of three ODIs at the Riverside Ground in Durham. England will be looking to give Ben Stokes the perfect send-off in his final ODI after he announced his retirement from this format.
I’ve put together three bets to take for the first ODI of the series.
This three-match series will not form part of the ODI Super League and South Africa choosing to rest Kagiso Rabada says it all in terms of where their priorities lie across the tour. They come up against an England side that will all be desperate to send Stokes off on a winning note in front of his home crowd.
Jos Buttler’s side have won nine of their 13 ODIs at Chester-le-Street, including eight of the last nine. Back them to win this ODI in Durham.
In a career that is only two years and 17 caps old, Malan has already scored three ODI centuries and as many fifties. Given how relatively tough batting has been this summer (in England), Malan’s resilience could pay dividends provided he can outlast any early movement. Only Babar Azam has a higher ODI average than Malan in the top 50 top run scores in the last three years. I’m backing him to be South Africa’s top batsman today.
No Hunred To Be Scored
In the last six domestic List A matches at the Riverside, run-scoring has been tricky. Four of the first-innings scores have produced scores of 255 or lower. I expect another low-scoring encounter as this will be the first match of the tour for the Proteas. Another reason is England’s struggles with the bat in the recently concluded series against India, with not one of their players scoring a century.
Even though both sides have quality batsmen that are capable of scoring a hundred, the best bet would be to bet against a hundred being scored.
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