South Africa v Australia – ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion at 12:30 live on Sky Sports 5
South Africa entertain Australia in the first of five ODI’s in this series between two of crickets limited overs heavyweights.
The hosts will once again be without AB de Villiers who will undergo surgery on a troublesome elbow and is expected to be out until late October at the earliest.
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Steve Smith’s Australia arrive in good spirits after their ODI series win in Sri Lanka earlier this month, which extended their fine record in 50 over cricket, having now won 9 of the last 11 ODI series they’ve competed in.
Incredibly this is the first ODI series played between these sides on South African soil since 2012 – in which the tourists ran out 2-1 victors. The sides last met in a tri-series in the Caribbean earlier this summer where again, Australia beat South Africa 2-1.
The weather is set to be warm and sunny on the Highveld with temperatures peaking around the 28c mark. There are sub 10% chance of rain, with no nasty thunderstorms predicted to get in the way of a full ODI.
Centurion is a regularly used venue for all international cricket in South Africa. It is seen as a fine pitch for batting, which is backed up by recent scores. Note the 318 was made by England earlier this year, in which South Africa chased this score with relative ease. Here is a list of recent scores in ODI matches on this ground –
318, 304, 361, 301, 179, 191 – Average 275
First Innings Runs
South Africa have batted first in eight completed ODI’s since the start of their India tour last year. Here is a list of their scores when batting first –
354, 343, 189, 188, 262, 438, 270, 303 – Average 292
And here are Australia’s last eight scores when batting first in ODI’s –
270, 265, 288, 330, 348, 299, 309, 305 – Average 301
South Africa will again be led by Faf du Plessis in the absence of de Villiers. The stand in skipper will have his big names back after they were rested for last weeks rout of Ireland.
Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir return with the ball whilst Hashim Amla should return to open the batting. This could mean debutant century maker Temba Bavuma could drop down the order as Amla opens up with Quinton de Kock. de Kock has ten hundreds in just 64 ODI’s whilst Amla has a remarkable 23 in 134 ODI knocks.
Middle order left handed bats David Miller and JP Duminy are both capable of powerful lower order contributions with career SR’s of 99 and 83 to their names respectively. Farhaan Behardien provides a crucial link to the lower middle order with an average of 30 and a SR in the 90’s, whilst seamer Andile Phehlukwayo could get another try despite going wicket-less on debut against Ireland. Tahir (below) will provide high class leg spin whilst Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott are likely to lead a Morne Morkel-less home pace attack.
Steve Smith returned against Ireland having been rested at the end of the Sri Lanka ODI series win. David Warner led the side in Smith’s absence and finally found some form in the final ODI, making 106 in the Pallekele victory having previously struggled to buy a run all tour. A blistering 48 off 30 balls against Ireland suggested Warner is in fine form and will be a danger to the home side.
Usman Khwaja opened ahead of Aaron Finch in that win against the Irish and is likely to drop down the order despite an unbeaten 82 in the run chase. George Bailey had a fine series in Sri Lanka, posting a best score of 90 and an average of 67, whilst wicket-keeper bat Matthew Wade seems to be growing at this level, scoring 155 runs at a SR of 83 in Sri Lanka on what were tricky, slow surfaces.
Front line seamers Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood sit out this series, with all-rounders John Hastings and Mitch Marsh leading the attack in regards international experience. Scott Boland has 11 ODI’s under his belt but has a best return of just 2/42 whilst Daniel Worral debuted against the Irish and is likely to get another gig here at Centurion.
Ones to Watch
37 year-old leg spinner Imran Tahir is one of the games great characters. He also holds a mightily impressive ODI record for South Africa, having netted 105 wickets in 60 matches. An average of 23 a wicket is eye-catching, but an economy rate of 4.6 in the modern era is simply outstanding. His overs are always crucial as wickets in the middle overs tend to stop sides from getting those 330+ scores that are becoming the norm in this format.
Australia have a leg spin bowler of their own in Adam Zampa that is already building an impressive ODI career record. In 13 ODI matches, the New South Wales tweaker has taken 25 scalps at an average of 22. His economy is also under 5 runs per over and arrives fresh from taking 9 wickets in the Sri Lanka series win. His battle with Tahir could be crucial in deciding the outcome of the series.
Whichever side bat first I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 305-310 mark.
Top Batsman Market
Hashim Amla only averages 30 against Australia in 20 ODI knocks. However, in 11 matches on this ground he has 4 centuries and an average of 69. Back him at 4.33 to top score for South Africa.
No prizes for imagination with this Australia top batsman pick either – David Warner is a hot/cold batsman and appears to be heating up into another warm period of batting form – he can be backed at 4.0 to top score for Steve Smith’s side.
Prices correct at time of writing.