England v South Africa
Royal London ODI series, first match (of three)
Tuesday July 19, 2022, 1pm
Seat Unique Riverside, Chester-le-Street
Well, it hasn’t been the start to the Jos Buttler-Matthew Mott partnership that they or we had hoped for.
A series win, with Eoin Morgan still as captain, over in the Netherlands was widely expected last month. But England have since put in some below par displays against Rohit Sharma and co.
South Africa’s travelling squad, captained by spinner Keshav Maharaj, has some quality - Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje for example. But they have also had a mixed time of things lately.
They beat India at home in January before losing at home to Bangladesh in March, both three-match series. They have not won an away 50-over series since late 2018 in Australia, drawing in Ireland since and failing to make the World Cup knockouts in England.
Despite the recent losses against India, I have to say it would surprise me if England didn’t win this series. Bet365 have them at a short-priced 2/5 to do so.
Given that short price, I would be looking at the series correct score odds for value and think the 3-0 England looks decent at 12/5.
I stored a lot of faith in England against India and came unstuck because of a series of below par batting displays against a quality Indian side.
But, against a Proteas outfit who have had even more recent problems in 50-over cricket, I expect England to have too much in the tank.
Bairstow loves it at the Riverside and can return to form tomorrow
After his blistering start to the summer in Test cricket, Jonny Bairstow struggled in the three ODIs against India, posting a top-score of 38.
But there is no better place for him to get back on track than in the North East, with the opening ODI tomorrow at Durham’s Riverside ground.
He has played four one-day internationals there in his career, posting scores of 83 not out, 79, 106 and 43.
Bet365 have price boosted him from 11/4 to 10/3 to be England’s top batter in the opening fixture. That would be something I would be very interested in.
Protea Malan can continue the excellent start to his ODI career
South Africa opener Janneman Malan looks over-priced at 4/1 with betfair to be his country’s top scorer.
He posted a warm-up century against the England Lions last week and averages 59 in his 17 ODI appearances to date, including three hundreds - two of them away from home.
He is behind Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks and alongside fellow 4/1 shot Aiden Markram to be their top bat. And I would have expected him to be a touch shorter.