The first ODI of the three-match series between South Africa and England, supposed to be played on Friday was postponed to Sunday.
After losing the T20Is 0-3, South Africa will hope to turn the tables in the ODIs. 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 now kicks off at Boland Park in Paarl, on December 6. 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
Hosting only 18 ODIs in its brief history, Paarl has not been a popular venue for international cricket in South Africa. It is surprising since the venue promises a great ambience to enjoy cricket, boosted by a scenic view of the mountains.
Since 2017, Paarl has hosted three one-dayers, witnessing scores as high as 353 by South Africa against Bangladesh in 2017 to as low as Zimbabwe trudging to 228 against South Africa in 2018. Overall, the venue has the third lowest run-rate and lowest batting average amongst all grounds in the country which have hosted a minimum of 3 ODIs in the period - 5.4 runs per overs at 32 runs per wicket.
The fast bowlers have made merry here, with the lowest bowling average and strike-rate amongst all South Africa venues since 2017. Hence, pace bowlers could play a crucial role in your fantasy side.
However, Paarl also hosted its first T20I last week between he same rivals and it proved to be a track for spinners to shine. The playing area is bigger from sideways than most of the South African venues. Therefore, picking a spinner - Adil Rashid - won’t be a bad option as well.
The weather is expected to be sunny for the contest with minimal threats of rain. The average temperature during the day will be around 33 degree Celsius while at night, it is estimated to drop 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.
Quinton de Kock did not fire in the T20I series but it is 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.
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.
Joe Root did not score much during the ODI series against Australia but England’s ODI anchor is fresh now. Moreover, in case the pitch is slow as it was in the T20I on Sunday, 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 the odds, Root has been upto the challenge.
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.
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.
David Miller has been away from competitive cricket for a while but the last time he played ODIs, he was in pretty decent form. In the four ODIs he has batted in this year, he has been dismissed only once, with two fifties to his name, thus averaging 173. Like de Kock, Miller can also feast on the absence of key bowlers in England’s line-up. He also has a healthy record against England - 425 runs averaging 42.5 at a strike-rate of 94.
Our Criclytics player projection predicts, Miller could score 16-41 runs in this match.
South Africa released a number of players from their squad. Kagiso Rabada was already ruled out of the ODIs due to a groin injury. Faf du Plessis was rested while Pite van Biljon, Bjorn Fortuin and Reeza Hendricks have returned to join their franchise teams for the 4-day domestic series.