South Africa hope to keep series alive against high-flying England

England defeated South Africa convincingly in the opening ODI © Getty Images

The last time South Africa played England in an ODI at Bristol, England recorded their fourth-highest total in ODIs, scoring 373 and obliterating South Africa by 68 runs in a result that proved key to their title run at the 2017 World Cup.

What’s at stake?

The three-match series is not a part of the ICC Women’s Championship, but England have had the upperhand against South Africa both in the near and in the distant past and they would look to intimidate the visitors again.

South Africa seemed to badly miss the experience of Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk and Shabnim Ismail in the opening match as their batting never got going and their bowlers never recovered after coming under attack early from the young Emma Lamb, who played with impressive poise and trademark technical correctness to notch her first ODI hundred in just her second match.

While Lee has retired and van Niekerk is not a part of the squad owing to injury, Ismail is fit and will look to spearhead South Africa’s high quality first choice pace trio including her, Marizanne Kapp and Ayabonga Khaka.

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Players to watch out for:

Sophia Dunkley: Sophia Dunkley had never batted above no. 5 in her young ODI career for England, but she was bumped up to no. 3 in the first ODI, a move that hinted at England looking to revamp their top order with an eye on the next World Cup already.

Dunkley has already racked up impressive numbers as a finisher and was a key cog in England’s run to the final of the World Cup earlier this year. For a player with her range of strokes and quality, no. 3 might just be the right long-term station. She hit a breezy 22 in the first ODI before falling to a ball that seamed in a fair bit. She has been in scintillating form in 2022 and would look to make the most of getting to bat more overs by scoring a big one on a ground that has traditionally been laden with runs.

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Shabnim Ismail: One of the fastest bowlers in world cricket, Ismail missed out on the one-off Test as well as the first ODI and South Africa’s bowling attack looked visibly diminished in her absence.

South Africa’s weapon of choice both in the power play as well as in the final overs, Ismail would be key to containing England’s rampaging batters and restriction the opposition to a below par score.

In each of the last two ODIs between these two teams, one of the English openers went on to score a hundred and Ismail might hold the key to halting that streak.

Numbers:

  • Katherine Brunt became the first English bowler to take 20 three-wicket hauls in ODIs for England during the first ODI.
  • Chloe Tryon’s 88 in the first ODI was the second highest score by a batter from no. 6 in ODIs.
  • Laura Wolvaardt’s 771 runs are the most by a batter in ODIs in 2022. They are also the most by a South African batter in a calendar year.

Predicted XI:

Shabnim Ismail’s return to full fitness will necessitate what might be the only change for the Proteas, with the experienced pacer coming in for the lone specialist spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba.

After a convincing win, England might look to stick to the same playing XI that delivered for them in the first match.

England: Tammy Beaumont, Emma Lamb, Sophia Dunkley, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Danielle Wyatt, Amy Jones (wk), Charlie Dean, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt, Andrie Steyn, Lara Goodall, Suné Luus (c), Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Nadine de Klerk, Tumi Sekhukhune, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka