May 30, how many of you waited for this day? The battle for the biggest title in cricket will begin on Thursday. The clash will take place between two teams who never won a title before.
England is considered as the strongest and most favourite team to win this World Cup. They are the number one ODI team as per ICC Rankings and they have been consistently playing attacking cricket. They enter the World Cup with tremendous form, won the 5 match ODI series against Pakistan in which they smashed 340+ score in 4 consecutive innings.
England has a strong batting line-up. From number one to number seven, everyone has the skill of smashing it from the very first ball. Since World Cup 2015, 9 times English batsmen have scored an ODI hundred in less than 70 balls. The second in the list is South Africa (3) and they are playing against each other in the opener.
England’s bowling is a bit of worry as they were thrashed by Pakistan batsmen, which is a rare sight in ODIs. Pakistan is not known for scoring big totals but in recently concluded series they became the first team to score 300 or more runs in 3 consecutive ODI innings. Their only weak point is their bowling and for which English selectors reshuffled their provisional World Cup squad. They included Jofra Archer, who just played 3 ODIs for England so that they can have a stronger bowling line up.
South Africa on the other hand, is more balanced if you compare both batting and bowling. There is no weak link except their habit of choking in a crunch situation. The team consists of solid and attacking openers like Amla and de Kock, which is followed by the middle-order consist of Faf du Plessis and David Miller.
South Africa’s strength is in their bowling and acrobat fielding. When a team has bowlers like Rabada, Ngidi, and Tahir, no opposition can think of taking them lightly. Styen has been ruled out of the first match due to injury. They are one of the best fielding sides and this will always bring hesitation in opposition players to steal a run against them. South Africa has won all 5 previous bilateral series in the last year.
The players to watch out from each team are Buttler and Rabada. Buttler has been hitting balls out of the park at will. He has smashed 5 ODI hundreds in less than 70 balls in the last few years. Rabada is mean. He has not given more than 6 runs per over even once in the last 18 games. His speed is his main weapon. He can swiftly remove the top order of the opposition which can boost the confidence of other bowlers as well as the team.
England v South Africa in ODIs
Overall: Matches 59, England Won 29, South Africa Won 26, Tied 1, No Result 3
World Cup: Matches 6, England won 3, South Africa won 3
Recent Form (most recent first): England W W W W NR, South Africa W W W W W
ICC Rankings: England (1), South Africa (3)
Eoin Morgan has scored 6,977 runs and needs 23 more to reach the 7,000 runs milestone. He will also become the first English player to play 200 ODIs.
Jason Roy has scored 2,938 runs and needs 62 more to become the 16th England player to reach the 3,000 runs.
Hashim Amla has scored 7,910 runs and needs 90 more to become the fourth South African player to reach the 8,000 runs.
Dale Steyn has taken 196 wickets and needs 4 more to become the fifth South African player to reach the 200 wickets milestone.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.