Australia v South Africa: ODI Match Previews

November 11th, 1:50pm, Bellerive Oval

After finally snapping their much-publicised losing streak in Adelaide, Australia will look to go one better and secure the series in the third ODI against South Africa at Hobart on Sunday.

Australia

The Aussies made a more positive start to the second ODI, reaching 2/96 in the 21st over before losing captain Aaron Finch (41 off 63 balls) and the dangerous Chris Lynn (44 off 44 balls) in relatively quick succession. They then lost wickets at regular intervals, requiring the steady hand of ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey (47 off 72 balls) along with some late-hitting from Adam Zampa (22 off 24 balls) just to reach 231 as they were once again bowled out inside their 50 overs. Although the visitors entered the second innings as warm favourites, the Australian quicks snared some early scalps to reduce the Proteas to 4/68, although a 74-run partnership then swung the match back in the favour of the South Africans. It was at this point that all-rounder Marcus Stoinis made his mark, claiming 3/35 from his ten overs, as Australia snuck home by seven runs with captain Finch marshalling his bowlers expertly throughout the chase. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa bounced back from conceding 24 off his first three overs to finish with figures of 0/57 off nine which should just be enough to keep Ashton Agar out of the side, while Nathan Coulter-Nile is also unlikely to return, given that the series is on the line.

South Africa

South Africa missed a golden opportunity to claim the series and heap more misery and pressure on a misfiring Australian side. After an indifferent performance in Perth, star paceman Kagiso Rabada bounced back to take 4/54 from 9.3 overs, however the rot was triggered by medium-pacer Dwayne Pretorious who made the most of his opportunity by taking 3/32 off his full allotment, including the key wicket of Finch. On the flipside 22-year-old Lungi Ngidi failed to match the high standards he set in the series opener, conceding 67 off his nine overs. The Proteas’ chase was underpinned by the contributions of two experienced campaigners in captain Faf du Plessis (47 off 65 balls) and left-hander David Miller (51 off 71 balls), however the dismissal of each proved to be pivotal to the final result. The less established Reeza Hendricks (16 off 27 balls) and Heinrich Klaasen (14 off 17 balls) both failed to fire, placing their place in the side at risk with Farhaan Behardien waiting in the wings. The visitors may also consider strengthening their lower-order which would see Pretorious retained alongside fellow all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, possibly at the expense of Ngidi.

Bellerive Oval

This will be the first ODI at Bellerive Oval since the 2015 World Cup, although the hosts have traditionally thrived here, winning 12 of their past 13 ODIs at the venue. Look out for talented left-handers Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Starc in Hobart as Marsh averages 77.66 from three ODIs here with the bat, while Starc has taken his wickets at 24.40 apiece from the same number of matches.

Key Stats

*Australia have still won only two of their past seven ODIs at home.

*Australia have won 12 of their past 13 ODIs at Bellerive Oval.

*South Africa have won three of their past four ODI series’.

*However South Africa haven’t won an ODI series in Australia since 2009.

*Aaron Finch is Australia’s top run-scorer in ODIs this year, averaging 48.20, and is the only Australian to have scored three centuries in 2018.

The Verdict

The prices are remarkably similar to what we saw pre-game for the second match, with Australia clear if not overwhelming favourites.

It’s hard to quantify just how much confidence the hosts will gain from finally getting over the line in Adelaide, but it does make them harder to take on here, especially with the bowling attack showing that they can defend a below-par score on a good pitch. However I’m not about to suddenly back the Australians as favourites, with serious question marks remaining over their batting, even if you got the sense that a few of their stroke-makers were warming to something at the Adelaide Oval.

South Africa showed their vulnerability with the bat too, with the chase on a good Adelaide pitch showing just how much they are missing the injured Hashim Amla and JP Duminy. However their bowling unit shows no signs of letting up on Australia’s inconsistent batsmen, so whilst I couldn’t take a pre-match position I would advise a trading strategy of siding with the bowling team in each innings.

As for a pre-match wager, I can’t look past the claims of the Australian captain who will be buoyed by his assertive performance in the field and is one of the few home-grown batsmen with any sort of recent form at the crease.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Back Aaron Finch Top Australian Batsman at 3.75 or better for 1 unit.

Following another comprehensive defeat, Australia are staring down the barrel of yet another series loss unless they can reverse their fortunes against South Africa in the second ODI at Adelaide on Friday.

Australia

The Aussies slumped to their worst ever losing streak in one-day international cricket, with a seventh consecutive loss at Perth on Sunday. After being sent into bat the hosts showed all the signs of a team devoid of confidence as they slid to 3/8 in the sixth over.

The middle-order did not fare much better as they stumbled to 8/107 at 32 overs, before some late hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile (34 off 31 balls) elevated them to a still paltry 152 all out. Any chance of an unlikely win was snuffed out early by South Africa’s opening pair who put on 94 off 100 balls, before a late flurry of wickets to all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (3/16 off four overs) added a hint of respectability to what was a pretty harrowing scorecard for Australia.

Any moves to reinforce the Australian’s faltering batting line-up have been hampered by the injury suffered by Shaun Marsh, although the polarising left-hander hopes to be available on Friday. In any case promising stroke-player Ben McDermott has been drafted into the squad with Darcy Short the player most likely to make way in the top order.

Ashton Agar could also come into contention with Pat Cummins a chance of being rested, while it seems unlikely that captain Aaron Finch will continue with his bizarre tactic of keeping Mitchell Starc away from the new ball.

South Africa

The Proteas have far less concerns than their opponents, with their victory set up by an excellent performance from their highly-regarded bowling attack. A resurgent Dale Steyn (2/18 off seven overs) started the rot with two wickets in his second over, however it was adaptable all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo who took full advantage, finishing with figures of 3/33 off six overs comprising the dangerous scalps of Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Stoinis.

Some positive intent from opener Quinton de Kock (47 off 40 balls) underpinned South Africa’s chase and allowed his new opening partner Reeza Hendricks to settle into his innings as he compiled a composed 44 off 74 deliveries. At first drop Aiden Markram gave an insight into his approach with a breezy 36 off 32 balls, although in reality the South Africans batting unit weren’t really stretched, given the meager target they were asked to chase down.

Perhaps the only negative for the visitors was another early dismissal to Heinrich Klaasen who now only has one half-century from ten ODI innings’. Nevertheless the Proteas are expected to stick with Klaasen ahead of all-rounder Farhaan Behardien and there is certainly no reason for them to make any other changes to their starting XI, having now won their last four ODIs.

Adelaide Oval

In some much-needed good news for the hosts they have won their last four ODIs at the Adelaide Oval, most recently edging out England by three wickets in a low-scoring encounter.

Opener Travis Head has thrived at his home ground, scoring 128 and 96 in two ODI knocks here, while pace bowler Josh Hazlewood has also proved very effective, averaging just 18.50 in ODIs at Adelaide.

Key Stats

*Australia have now lost their past seven ODIs.

*Australia have been bowled out in six of their past seven ODIs.

*Australia have won their last four ODIs at the Adelaide Oval.

*South Africa have won their last four ODIs.

*South Africa have only been bowled out twice in their last nine ODIs.

The Verdict

Incredibly, despite their record losing streak, Australia are still favourites against a South African side that looks well suited to the task here.

On current form you couldn’t really go near Australia, especially given that they’re odds-on despite dropping their last seven matches. Their fast-bowling unit may not have had the chance to show their wares on Sunday, but the most concerning aspect is their batting which has been poor for some time now. A strong record in Adelaide does offer some hope, but certainly not enough to make them favourites in my book.

Meanwhile the South African juggernaut rolls on, spearheaded by a high-quality bowling attack that would cause some of the best batsmen in the world problems, let alone a collection of horribly out-of-form and under-pressure players.

Their batting has also stood up when necessary, with the likes of Hendricks and Klaasen given ample opportunity to establish themselves, rather than feel the pressure like their opponents.

With one side on a four-match winning streak and the other on a seven-match losing streak this shapes as a no-brainer, particularly when you consider that the in-form outfit are underdogs, so I’ll be going in again on the Proteas in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – South Africa at 2.05 or better for 2 units.

November 4th, 2:20pm, Optus Stadium

After an onerous tour of the UAE, Australia return to home soil for the first of a three-match ODI series against fierce rivals South Africa at Perth Stadium on Sunday.

Australia

While they will be happy to be back in familiar territory, the Australians will need to overcome an alarming slide in one-day cricket, having dropped their last four bilateral series’, including a humiliating 5-0 loss away to England in June.

Following that ignominy, the hosts have restored their first-choice pace attack with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile brought back in for Billy Stanlake, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa has also won a recall following an impressive JLT Cup, with Nathan Lyon rested, leaving Ashton Agar as the only frontline bowler to survive the England series.

There are less disruptions in the batting unit although Tim Paine has been dropped and displaced as captain by Aaron Finch, leaving Alex Carey as the first-choice gloveman, while master-blaster Chris Lynn returns to the squad after racking up the runs on the domestic scene. Despite an underwhelming test series, Shaun Marsh has retained his spot on account of two centuries in this format against England.

His his brother Mitchell has been omitted so that he can focus on longer form aspirations. After dominating one-day cricket for much of the past 20 years, the Aussies have slumped to number six on the ICC rankings and will be desperate to claw their way back towards the summit.

South Africa

The Proteas’ recent record in this format has been much more impressive, winning three of their past four series’ since the Champions Trophy, albeit against the questionable opposition of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

The major omissions from their touring party are experienced batsmen Hashim Amla and JP Duminy who are unavailable due to finger and shoulder injuries respectively, however veteran spearhead Dale Steyn continues his comeback, forming a fearful pace bowling trio with Kagiso Rabada and Lungisani Ngidi.

Cunning leggie Imran Tahir rounds out the Proteas’ frontline attack, although they will be supplemented by returning all-rounders Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorious and Farhaan Behardien who all get their chance following an ankle complaint to Wiaan Mulder.

In the absence of Amla and Duminy, the visitors’ batting with lean heavily on captain Faf du Plessis, ‘keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and middle-order tyro David Millar, although there will be plenty of pressure on top-order stroke-maker Reeza Hendricks who is yet to establish himself an international level.

South Africa’s tour didn’t get off to an ideal start as they were beaten by the Prime Minister’s XI by four wickets on Wednesday, although not before young speedstar Ngidi showed his wares with a scintillating 2/16 off eight overs.

Perth Stadium

The relatively new Perth Stadium has still seen very little cricket with the only international fixture there an ODI last year in January between Australia and England. In that match England narrowly defended a mediocre total of 259 with a number of batsmen from both sides making starts but failing to kick-on to match defining scores. Andrew Tye and Tom Curran, both noted for their changes of pace, each claimed a five-wicket haul.

Key Stats

*Australia have lost ten of their past 11 ODIs.

*Australia have lost four of their past five ODIs at home.

*South Africa have won six of their past eight ODIs.

*South Africa have won three of their last five ODIs away from home.

*South Africa have won their last three ODIs in Australia.

The Verdict

After their surprising warm-up loss, South Africa have drifted to clear underdogs with the hosts installed as warm favourites.

It’s hard to quantify how Australia can be such distinct favourites in this one as while they welcome back their primary bowling attack, there are few changes to a batting line-up that was struggling to adapt to the pace of one-day cricket even when the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith were available.

Although they are usually much stronger at home, their record down under has also started to decline and they face a side who are used to playing in relatively similar conditions. With a batting order that is still unsettled and the lack of a proven wicket-taking spinner, I can’t be going near the Aussies at this stage.

While Australia’s pace attack may be their strength, it is certainly matched by their opponents who also have the added advantage of an established spinner who averages just 23.75 in ODIs with a strike-rate of 30.5.

The absence of Amla and Duminy is a concern, however they still have plenty of experience and quality at their disposal in the top seven. They’ve also shown they know how to win on foreign soil, particularly in Australia, so I’m willing to forgive the Proteas for their slip-up on Wednesday and back them at the generous odds available to go one-nil up in the series.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – South Africa at 2.30 or better for 1 unit.


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