South Africa No Match for In-Form England

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England begin their ODI series against South Africa on Friday and are strong favourites to open up with a win.

Jos Buttler

England and South Africa lock horns once again in a three-game One-Day International series as Eoin Morgan’s men look to underline just why they are world champions.

As well as being World Cup winners, England are currently top of the ODI rankings and South Africa face a tough task trying to stop the tourists when the first one-dayer gets underway at Newlands on Friday.

T20 Series Win a Platform

England dominated the recent three-match T20 series between the two countries, picking up a 3-0 win, and, with the majority of that squad now switching focus to the 50-over format, it’s hard to make a case for Quinton de Kock’s side to redeem themselves, despite home advantage.

The Proteas’ have also had the unfortunate news in the past few days that key bowler Kagiso Rabada has had to pull out with an adductor injury and he will miss all three ODI’s, blunting their pace attack against the best one-day side around, while veteran batsman Faf du Plessis will play no part as he has been rested.

To a certain extent, Morgan’s men are still basking in the glory of their dramatic 2019 World Cup success on home soil and there is a real fear factor surrounding the steely side that has been built. England possess strength with both bat and ball and have potential match-winners throughout the squad.

It’s no surprise, then, that England are 20/49 to win the first ODI and South Africa are on offer at 17/10.

Buttler Can Blast More Runs

Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will be confident of scoring the runs to propel England to another series win, while the inclusion of Test skipper Joe Root, who wasn’t in the T20 party, adds another positive batting dimension. Morgan will continue to lead by example with the bat, while Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Tom Curran will be dangerous with the ball.

Buttler, in particular, is bang in form as he hit 67no from 46 balls in the nine-wicket T20 win on Monday and the Lancashire man, a proven big-hitter, looks tasty to be England’s top batsman at Newlands at 6/1.

England are weakened by the absences of Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran – who have all been rested after playing in the T20 games – but with Root back in the mix and confidence high, it shouldn’t alter their gameplan to try to attack the hosts and dominate from the off.

The two countries played out a pre-pandemic 1-1 series draw in February and that outcome will give South Africa some hope of making an impact in the series. Skipper De Kock, along with Temba Bavuma will be among the main batsmen for South Africa, who are ranked fifth in the world after they failed to make the knockout stages in England in the World Cup last year, which included a 104-run defeat against Morgan’s side at The Oval.

SA Opt Against Going With Du Plessis

Du Plessis is now 36 so it’s not too much of a surprise he’s been rested but the home side will miss his batting prowess and he looked in good shape in the T20s. In his absence, Bavuma and Janneman Malan look good options to top score, both at 7/2, behind standout favourite De Kock at 2/1.

With an England win expected in the first ODI, they should also secure the Man Of The Match accolade and all-rounder Buttler, who also keeps wicket, offers a fair bit of value in this market at 10/1, even if he doesn’t end up as the tourists’ top-scorer.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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