England Vs South Africa 2017: 1st ODI Preview – Headingley
England and South Africa are scheduled to play the three-match Royal London One-day International series, as both the units are looking strong on the paper, before going into the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy which will be jointly hosted by England and Wales from June 1.
Prior to the Champions Trophy, both teams would be eyeing to claim the series, to up-the-ante in a bid to emerge as victorious in the upcoming edition.
However, South Africa has to work hard on picking their cards which could be a challenge before they head into the mega event.
South Africa which has quality players in their side have won hard-fought five-match series in New Zealand recently by 3-2 and they would go with much confidence in this series, as they can further boast about their batting and bowling depth, respectively.
However, on the other side, the hosts under Morgan’s captaincy has improved as a unit in the limited-overs format. After clinching the Ireland series (2-0) and the West Indies (3-0) series, Eoin Morgan-led side will be tested by AB de Villiers, as the hosts own the tag of ‘favourites’ this time around.
Following the return of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and all-rounder Chris Woakes from recently concluded successful tenth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), England captain Morgan would be sitting pretty confident — to see his teammates giving their best against ranked number one team South Africa led by swashbuckling batsman AB de Villiers.
Moreover, South Africa also saw the return of promising southpaw Quinton de Kock, who has been a revelation for the Proteas since bursting onto the international scene. The wicket-keeper batsman de Kock would again turn out to be a standout performer in the 50-over format considering the fact of his ability to anchor the innings.
Going through the 15-member squad which has been named for the ICC’s mega event, South Africa has a bolstered bowling line-up with Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Chris Moris and Morne Morkel. The series is further seen as the stern test for the visitors in order to access the conditions before going into an eight-team tournament.
Talented England side is seen as the favourite contender for the ICC Champions Trophy which can boast about having the power-hitters in the line-up including Alex Hales and Jason Roy at the top.
On the other side, South Africa has a settled team which will be boosted by the return of Quinton de Kock after recovering from the finger injury which he received during the New Zealand tour.
We could further witness the bowling line-up going through a toss-up, as fast bowler Kagiso Raba will be leading the bowlers and we would also witness JP Duminy be rolling over his arm too. The top order is laced with experienced campaigners which include Hashim Amla, who has been on roll before leaving IPL mid-way, as AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis will come up at number three and four, respectively to add value in the middle overs.
The slow left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj would be an interesting asset for the visiting side, as they would prefer to go with two regular spinners. In 2016, South Africa thrashed England 3-2 in a five-match series.
With the inclusion of Mark Wood for England, it would strengthen the pace battery alongside Liam Plunkett, David Walley and Jake Ball, as the slow bowling responsibility will be wholly on leg-spinner Adil Rashid and off-spinner Moeen Ali.
For England, Jos Buttler is the ideal choice behind wickets. as the side has further availed the services of Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings and the side has an opportunity to topple South Africa
The conditions in Headingley are perfect for the One-day International series opener. as the wicket will be having plenty of runs on an offer and bowlers will have a hard task to cut out for.
Interestingly, on Wednesday it will be the first time Headingley will host the match after England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) reached an agreement in order to support a football stand following the agreement with Leeds City Council (LCC) following a prolonged gap.
Coming to the conclusion, both teams have played 22 ODIs, in which hosts has an advantage of winning 13 matches at home. The Proteas claimed seven wins which further saw two matches ended without any result.
At Headingley, England has played 28 matches in which they have claimed 18 wins. In head-to head contest at Leeds, England won both their games against the Proteas.
England’s Predicted XI: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (Skipper), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (WK), Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Jake Ball, Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood.
South Africa’s Predicted XI: Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (Skipper), JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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