Englands first ODIs since the World Cup final at Lord’s during this short series in South Africa. They will play three ODIs against the Proteas starting in Newlands, Cape Town.
With the next World Cup not for another four years; the start of a new cycle brings around a change in personnel. It looks like England have moved on from David Willey, Liam Plunkett, James Vince, and Alex Hales. Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Jos Buttler are rested. Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket again and Moeen Ali returns to England colours, while the likes of Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Joe Denly and Matt Parkinson will want to use the series to become regulars.
England warmed with two useful games against a CSA Invitational XI in Paarl. Centuries for Bairstow and Jason Roy will have pleased the management, while all of England’s bowlers had the chance to get some overs in.
After a very disappointing World Cup, South Africa also has a new-look squad. Regular captain Faf du Plessis and senior quick Kagiso Rabada are rested with Quinton de Kock set to take over as skipper. David Miller is the most experienced having played 126 ODIs, in what is a young side looking to be more aggressive. Quinton de Kock is the Proteas stand out batsman in this series and perhaps will bat a little more sensibly given he is now leading the side. He averages 45 all-time as an opener and 46.2 in the last 5 years.
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England has greater strength in depth and still look too strong for their hosts. De Kock is an inexperienced captain while Eoin Morgan knows how to get the best out of new players, hungry to make a point at the highest level. England has plenty of power in their batting and a varied a skilled bowling attack.
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The 1st ODI takes place at Newlands tomorrow. South Africa have played 8 games at the venue in the last 10 years, winning 5 of them. The average 1st Innings score has been 267 in these games, with a range of 218/9 to 367/5. Conditions can vary significantly depended on the weather, but the forecast looks good and I would expect a flat pitch and lots of runs. Newlands was one of the higher scoring grounds during the recent T20 Mzansi Super League. Sixes also averaged way above the tournament mean and both sides tomorrow contain plenty of players who enjoy a maximum.
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Expected 1st ODI Line Ups
Quinton de Kock +*, Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Jon-Jon Smuts, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beruan Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Lungi Ngidi, Tabrazi Shamsi
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow+, Joe Root, Joe Denly, Eoin Morgan*, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid