After losing the T20Is 0-3, South Africa will hope to turn the tables in the ODIs on the current World Cup holders, England. They have a few holes to fill in their side but they will draw courage from their previous two series results in ODI cricket - 1-1 draw against the same opposition followed by a 3-0 whitewash over the Aussies. However, those results came nine months ago.
England look well settled, despite resting some key players. Among the first-movers in terms of playing international cricket post the pandemic break, they have been in mix with ODI cricket as well. However, they were defeated 1-2 in their last ODI assignment against Australia, in September.
The ODI series kicks off with a day-night encounter in Cape Town, on December 4. Since 2016, the teams have locked horns 12 times. England have won six while South Africa emerged victorious on five occasions, hinting at a neck-to-neck competition between these two.
Pitch, conditions and team combination
Newlands is amongst the five venues which have hosted three or more ODIs since 2018. Amongst them, Newlands have the lowest run-rate - 5.2 runs per over - but the second-highest batting average - 36.8 runs per wicket. Hence, top-order batsmen becomes important. Run-scoring might be difficult for them but the stats reckon they will have the chance to carry on and produce points for your side.
The best way to assess the nature of the pitch is to compare the numbers of spinners and pacers during the middle overs - overs 11 - 40. In this phase, spinners at Newlands have picked a wicket every 41.3 deliveries while pacers have taken 59 deliveries to strike, in ODIs since 2018. Hence, the pitch will be conducive to spinners.
Diving into different bowler types, finger spinners have not been effective at this venue. However, both sides have a wrist spinner each likely to field in Adil Rashid and Tabraiz Shamsi.
The weather is expected to be sunny for the contest with no threats of rain around. The average temperature during the day will be around 25 degree Celsius while at night, it will drop down to 14.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
The fact that Newlands has produced runs but at the lowest economy rate suggests that the track there has been on the slower side. Joe Root did not score much during the ODI series against Australia but England’s ODI anchor is fresh now. Moreover, there is no better player of spin on both sides. Since 2018, he has averaged 76.7 against spinners while scoring at 92.2 runs per 100 balls. Whenever England required a batsman to step up against slow bowling, Root has always been upto the challenge - his consecutive hundreds against India in 2018 being the prime example of abilities.
Given that he will be batting in the top-order also allows him to construct a long innings. Also, Root is likely to contribute with the ball, if required.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Root could score 18-51 runs in this match.
Quinton de Kock did not fire in the T20I series but it is a tough to keep a player like him silent for long. He has been South Africa’s highest run-scorer in ODIs since 2018, accruing 1,329 runs, including two hundreds and 10 fifties. On the other side, England are playing with a weakened bowling attack, resting Jofra Archer and Sam Curran. It is a great opportunity for de Kock to leave a mediocre T20I series behind him and get amongst runs again. The last time these two teams met at Newlands - in February this year - de Kock was the man-of-the-match for his 107.
Not to forget the fantasy points he is likely to provide due to his dismissals as a wicket-keeper.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, de Kock could score 18-51 runs in this match.
Demoted to number four in the T20Is, Jonny Bairstow would be keen to remind the team management about the things he can accomplish as an opener. Like de Kock, he has been the highest scorer for his side in ODIs since 2018 - 2,215 runs - and has struck eight hundreds in the meantime. He is adapt at playing long innings as well and if he gets his eye in, a big score from the ginger head is guaranteed.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Bairstow could score 21-54 runs in this match.
Tabraiz Shamsi was it and miss in the T20I series. He was taken for runs in the two T20Is in Cape Town but snaffled three wickets in Paarl. In his ODI career, Shamsi has appeared twice in Cape Town, the last of which was against England earlier this year. Shamsi picked three for 38 in that game contributing to the impressive record of wrist spinners at the venue. It is always a gamble with him but f he gets his act right, Shamsi can play a pivotal role in your fantasy side.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Shamsi could pick 0-1 wickets in this match.
In the news
South Africa have released a number of players from their squad. Kagiso Rabada was already ruled out of the ODIs due to a groin injury. Now, Faf du Plessis is rested while Pite van Biljon, Bjorn Fortuin and Reeza Hendricks will return to join their franchise teams for the 4-day domestic series.