1st ODI Cricket Preview – South Africa v Australia
Friday September 30, 9:30pm AEST – Centurion Park
Both sides enter this best of five ODI series with weakened squads as they look ahead to the Test series in Australia in November. Australia’s bowling stocks have taken a big hit with Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Nathan Coultner-Nile all injured, while Josh Hazlewood has been rested. Meanwhile, South Africa will be missing arguably the world’s best player in AB De Villiers, who has been ruled out with an elbow injury for this series and the Test series in Australia.
Ireland were the guineas pigs for both Australia and South Africa as they easily accounted for the Irish in their respective one-off ODI matches.
Australia dismissed Ireland for 198, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa the star with the ball, picking up 3/37. John Hastings, Scott Bolland and debutant Daniel Worrall all chipped in with the ball and will have to step up in the absence of Australia’s front-line speedsters.
Usman Khawaja (82*), David Warner (48) and Steve Smith (59*) ensured that the Australians had no problem chasing down Ireland’s mediocre total.
South Africa also cruised past Ireland, posting 5/354 with Temba Bavuma making 113 on his ODI debut, while Quinton De Kock (82) and JP Duminy (52*) all had a hand in South Africa’s hefty total.
Ireland could only manage 148 in the chase with Duminy capping off a strong all-round match, picking up 4/16.
Australia is flying in the shortened format of the game with a Tri Series win over the West Indies and South Africa, followed by a 4-1 thumping of Sri Lanka on their home turf.
They’ve won 6 of the last 10 ODIs (1 NR) against South Africa and will be relying on their batsmen to set competitive totals to allow their inexperienced bowling attack to keep them in the match.
The loss of De Villiers cannot be underestimated and South Africa hasn’t had a competitive ODI hit out since the Tri Series tournament in the West Indies in June.
The last ODI at Centurion Park saw South Africa record a remarkable victory, chasing down England’s mammoth total of 318. Joe Root made 125 off 113 balls for England, but it wasn’t enough as both De Kock (135) and Hashim Amla (127) posted centuries to give South Africa a remarkable victory.
If the pitch resembles anything like that match, both sides will be eager to win the toss and bat first. Australian skipper Steve Smith has made 417 runs in 10 innings at an average of 52.12 and is The Wolf’s selection for most runs.
It should be a competitive series, but The Wolf is expecting Australia to be quick out of the blocks with more ODI cricket under their belt in recent times.
Match Result – Australia ($2)
South Africa Most Runs – Faf Du Plessis ($5)
Australia Most Runs – Steve Smith ($4.50)
South Africa Most Wickets – Wayne Parnell ($5)
Australia Most Wickets – Adam Zampa ($4.33)
Best Bet – Steve Smith ($4.50)