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Cricket Betting Tips - South Africa vs England 1st ODI Prediction
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After the drama of the last 24 hours and the postponement of Friday's opening ODI, confirmation that South Africa's squad returned a full batch of negative COVID-19 test results on Saturday morning was welcomed with no little relief. A positive test would have likely forced the tour's cancellation. As it is, the news was good rather than bad and the clean bill of health means the series can go on, beginning on Sunday in Paarl.
The revised schedule will now see the teams play the first two matches back-to-back, with Monday's game taking place at Newlands, before the third ODI takes place on Wednesday, its original date. It is not an ideal situation from a performance point of view but such is life in a COVID world. As we have all found out over the past nine months, the best laid plans are just as likely to go to waste than go ahead.
Given the change to the schedule, a good start is even more important than usual. England may be missing Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran but they have more than enough white-ball depth to make up for it. Five years ago, if England had rested three of their first-choice team for an away ODI trip, they would have got pumped. Cricket Betting Tips Now, they barely even notice. South Africa are missing a number of first choice players too but the calibre of their replacements cannot match England's.
While next year's T20 World Cup may have forced ODI cricket to the bottom of both team's priority lists, for the time being anyway, for those on the fringes who get a chance in this series, plenty is still riding on it. That is always the way in international cricket, no matter the context. There is always a player or two who has something to prove, something to gain or something to lose. Then there are the Cricket World Cup Super League points on offer, of course.
For England, Mark Wood will be looking to remind everyone of his credentials after missing out in the T20 series while Moeen Ali could do with an upturn in form to ward off advances from the likes of Liam Dawson and Matt Parkinson. Sam Billings will get the chance to consolidate his position as England's first reserve batsman.
For the hosts, there will most likely be opportunities for Janneman Malan, who made a century against Australia earlier this year, and Kyle Verreynne to build on promising starts to their ODI careers.
The absences of Kagiso Rabada and Faf du Plesiss clearly weaken the hosts but perhaps they would do well to look back to the last ODI played at Boland Park, in February, for comfort. South Africa beat Australia comprehensively without Rabada or du Plessis, bowling Aaron Finch's team out for 217. Nine of the wickets were shared by bowlers likely to play on Sunday. After a tough week of T20 cricket and COVID issues, a repeat of that performance would do them very nicely indeed.
What to Expect
The surface for the T20 at this ground a week ago was not the batting paradise that had been expected. It was more turgid than true. But this game will be played on a different pitch which should, if it reverts to normal Boland Park type, favour the batsmen. It is set to be a scorcher in Paarl, with temperatures forecast to rise above 30 degrees.