South Africa go into this One-Day International series against England in Bloemfontein on Friday needing a strong performance to ensure automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup later this year in India. The Proteas need to win at least three of their remaining five fixtures – they also have to play two matches against the Netherlands – to climb above West Indies, who are currently in eighth place after completing their programme.
But Sri Lanka could also leapfrog the West Indies if they win at least two matches in their final series in New Zealand in March. South Africa can guarantee qualification by winning all five of their remaining games. Teams that fail to win a World Cup place automatically will have to play in a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July.
Eight of England’s squad members have been playing in the SA20 competition, including captain Jos Buttler, who is the leading run-scorer, and fast bowler Jofra Archer, who has shown good form in five matches for the MI Cape Town team. Injuries have prevented Archer from playing for England for almost two years. The inaugural edition of the SA20 league has currently taken an eight-day break to accommodate this series.
The Mangaung Oval has hosted only one ODI since 2020 and that too came way back in March 2020. Australia scored 271 runs and South Africa chased it down in 48.3 overs. Lungi Ngidi picked six wickets in the match, while the likes of Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were also amongst wickets. However, it would be ideal to have at least one wristspinner in your team.
While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Rassie van der Dussen (capt), Reece Topley (vice-capt)
For grand leagues: Jos Buttler (capt), Quinton de Kock (vice-capt)
Stats that matter
Rassie van der Dussen has a stunning record in South Africa, having smashed 895 runs in 18 innings at an average of 99.44 and a strike rate of 89. He also averages close to 80 in ODIs since 2022.
In ODIs since 2022, Reece Topley has claimed 13 wickets in seven innings at a strike rate of 22.5 and an economy rate of 4.4.
Phil Salt and Dawid Malan have played six innings each in this aforementioned time frame but averages 50.33 and 59.4 respectively. In fact, Salt has a strike rate of 138.5.
Grand league punts
Jos Buttler has an average of 57.57 and a strike rate of 122.9 in ODIs since 2022. He is currently also the leading run-getter in the ongoing SA20, having smashed 285 runs in eight innings at an average of just over 40.
Quinton de Kock loves playing against England. In 15 innings, the left-hander has 834 runs at an average of 64.15. These two are also wicketkeepers and could fetch you points from behind the stumps.
South Africa - Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi/Lungi Ngidi.
England - Phil Salt, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes/David Willey, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Reece Topley.