About the Match
The ongoing 3 match ODI series between South Africa and England is being perceived as preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy to be also held in England in June, and if the results of the first two matches are anything to go by, South Africa seem to be struggling. In the first game, England came on top with a convincing win and then went on to seal the series in the second game where South Africa committed hara-kiri in the final over and gave away a game they had no business losing. The 3rd match will now be played at Lord’s on 29th May, and South Africa would be looking to take at least something out of this series in terms of wins.
The current fifth-ranked team in the ICC ODI team rankings, England, has played some very good cricket in the first two games and has already got the series win in the bag against a better ranked South Africa. The current England side is a very dynamic ODI outfit and they have been making some steady and definitive progress under the leadership of Eoin Morgan in the last eighteen months.
Everything worked like a charm for England in the first game. Their batsmen, led by Captain Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali, posted a handsome total, and then the bowlers defended the score with some good disciplined bowling. Chris Woakes bowled superbly and Moeen Ali chipped in with a couple of wickets to complete a great all-around effort for him in the game.
The victory in the second game was not so convincing though. In fact, South Africa was cruising throughout the chase and required just 7 in the final over, but could not hold their nerves and Mark Wood bowled superbly to win the game for his team. Liam Plunkett also bowled well and Ben Stokes set up the win with a great century in the first innings.
Ben Stokes, who was in sensational form with both bat and ball in the IPL as well, will be looking forward to playing a major role for England in the final game also. England will enter this game with a well-balanced squad and the confidence and momentum of a series win. They have handled the pressure of expectations superbly in the first two games and would want to continue this superb run with a win in this game as well.
South Africa entered this series as the number one ranked ODI team in the world, but lost to England in the first two matches. They must have had high expectations of themselves and with the kind of personnel at their disposal, would have hoped to do well in this series and enter the Champions Trophy with some momentum, but they could not perform well and have already lost the series.
South African bowling fell flat in both the games and as a result, they gave away totals which proved to be out of their reach. Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis tried hard in the first game, and at one stage South Africa actually looked in control of the chase, but a heap of wickets, in the end, meant that South Africa could not get close to the English total.
In the second game also, South Africa was in total control of the chase courtesy some superb batting from Quinton de Kock and David Miller, and in the end required just 7 runs off the last over. But handling pressure has always been a problem area for South Africa and they could not handle the pressure of some excellent bowling from Mark Wood and lost a game they should have comfortably won.
South Africa is a well-balanced team and most of their players have been in good ODI form of late. Though they have lost the series already, they would still want to get a win under the belt before heading into the Champions Trophy. They will just want to forget about the first two games and focus on playing some good aggressive cricket.
Both England and South Africa are two good ODI sides, but England has played superbly in the first two games, handled pressure better, and as a result have the series in the bag already. England has also had the home advantage, but South Africa is not alien to bouncy conditions either. Both these sides have had the success of late, but England will carry the confidence and momentum from their series win into this game. However, give the way the Proteas has improved in the series, they will perform better to take a consolation win here in this contest.