South Africa v England
One-Day International Series (Game Two of Three)
Sunday, January 29, 2023 (8am UK)
Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Chasing 299 to win, Jos Buttler’s side were flying at 146-0 in the 20th over, with opener Jason Roy on the way to a back-to-form century.
They had the game at their mercy. But pacers Sisanda Magala and Anrich Nortje shared seven wickets to snatch a home win from the jaws of defeat.
It shows how ODI cricket has changed that a South African score of 298-7 on a challenging pitch was viewed as below par. In the end, it wasn’t.
It leaves England staring down the barrel of a third defeat in four 50-over series dating back to last summer.
I thought South Africa would win the series before a ball was bowled, and nothing I saw in the opener has changed my mind. With several key England players missing, the hosts are at least a match for - if not stronger than - their visitors.
Bet365 have them at 11/10 to win this day game, and I would definitely be taking that price.
Archer should be better for international return
Jofra Archer stepped up his return from injury by bowling his full allocation of 10 overs as the series started, but he largely looked rusty in returning 1-81.
There were signs of his star quality, mainly when he came back quite well at the death in South Africa’s innings.
He’s been bowling quite nicely in the SAT20 of late, for MI Cape Town, and I expect him to be better in game two.
Bet365 have Archer at 1/1 to take over 1.5 wickets in the match
Expect more from Mala
I really do believe that Dawid Malan has been a fantastic limited-overs player for England.
The left-hander is someone who perhaps doesn’t get the credit he deserves and always is discussed as the fall guy when there is a flashier option available.
But he rarely lets England down in whatever role he’s asked to do.
In this series, he’s been given the job of opening the batting and scored a measured 59 off 55 balls in the game one defeat.
Ladbrokes have him at 7/4 to score another fifty, something which I can see him doing.
I would also be interested in taking the 10/3 price bet365 have on him to be England’s top batter in the second ODI.
Jason Roy may say otherwise after blasting 113, but I just wonder whether this sluggish Bloemfontein pitch may not suit some of England’s batting go-getters. Malan, meanwhile, just stays in his lane and bats. He’s both cautious and expansive when he needs to be.
Just to finish off, I am interested in having a crack at the 5/1 Betfair are offering through their #OddsOnThat selections for there to be a duck, a stumping and a run out in this fixture.
That bet didn’t land in the opener, the only leg that did being the duck (England had two). But I would be happy to take my chances that the other two are added in this encounter.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.