England face South Africa in the first of their three-match ODI series ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Eoin Morgan’s men brushed aside Ireland at the start of the month, easing to two simple victories over the minnows, but the real test of their championship credentials begins with the Proteas.
South Africa are the number-one ranked side the world and boast a number of world-class operators in the side, beginning with the outstanding AB de Villiers.
De Villiers’ side will be aiming to capitalise on their status and build their form ahead of the tournament next week.
The Proteas have won their last four ODI series on the bounce, including victories over Australia and New Zealand.
However, the Three Lions will pose a strong test given the revolution in their tactics since the end of the 2015 World Cup, especially on home soil.
We’ll now break down the betting odds for the clash at Headingley to see which side has the edge heading into the contest.
England’s revolution has been led at the top of the order by their openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy. Both men have taken an aggressive stance in their play, resulting in the Three Lions getting off to rapid starts in the contests over the past two years.
This resulted in the team breaking the world record for the highest ODI score, blasting 444 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge last year. It was a day of records as Hales ended Robin Smith’s time at the top of England’s highest individual ODI score, blasting 171 in a brilliant innings.
Morgan will look to the two men once again for impetus, with Hales in prime form having shown great striking ability against Ireland and at county level, notching a century for Nottinghamshire against Durham in their recent fixture. Look for the 28-year-old to play a significant role once again.
Joe Root was in solid form as ever for the Three Lions against Ireland. He notched a half century and unbeaten 49 with relative ease, highlighting his class at the crease. The 26-year-old will have the eyes of the world on him as England’s leading man in a tournament on home soil next week and will be determined to build up form ahead of a crucial summer.
Root has failed to make a significant score only once in his last seven innings’ – therefore he should be in the runs once again. South Africa’s attack will test his ability, but he has more than enough quality to lead the way for the Three Lions. Backing the 26-year-old at +333 at Bet365 to top score for the Three Lions at Headingley is the bet to take.
The Proteas arrive in England as the number one ranked side in the world and will be determined to leave the shores with their status intact. However, the task ahead of the Du Plessis and his men is a tough one as there are plenty of sides are capable to dethroning the Saffers by winning the ICC Champions Trophy.
The Proteas possess quality in their batting line-up to combat the challenges in front of them, starting against the Three Lions. De Villiers remains one of the most destructive batsmen in the game and boasts an incredible ODI average of 54.28, including 24 centuries in 216 matches.
The 33-year-old will be aiming to spearhead another victory over England as he did when the sides last met in South Africa last year, scoring a decisive century in the final match of the series.
De Villiers has the ability to hit in all areas of the ground – making him a frustrating and terrifying opponent. If England allow him to settle – he will punish them with ferocity.
One of the rising stars of South Africa cricket is Quinton de Kock. The 24-year-old is fast-becoming an elite batsman at the top of the innings and will be determined to make an impact in England ahead of the tournament.
He blasted a century against the Three Lions in their series last year and has continued on his destructive path, with impressive innings’ against Australia and New Zealand in his recent outings, including a match-winning 178 against the Baggy Greens in Centurion.
De Kock has been in good form in the warm-up matches and odds of +350 with Ladbrokes – he represents good value for money to lead the run column for the Proteas.
The Proteas come to England without the presence of paceman Dale Steyn, with the 33-year-old poised to miss the Test series against the Three Lions later in the summer as well. However, the rise of Kagiso Rabada has offset the loss of Steyn with his express pace lighting up all forms of the game.
The 21-year-old has become South Africa’s primary bowler due to his outstanding performances and seems to relish the big occasion. His rapid speed can trouble even the best batsmen in the world and is testament to his averages in the low 20s in Test and ODI cricket.
Rabada will venture into English conditions for the first time and he will have to adjust his style to cope with the swing that features at grounds up and down the country. The 21-year-old will also have to cope with expectations, but if he delivers then he could run through the England line-up at Headingley.
England will look to Chris Woakes to fire following his return to action from the IPL. The 28-year-old fared well during the tournament and will be looking to hit the ground running for the busy international schedule ahead of the Three Lions. He should know conditions fairly well – therefore backing him at +650 with 32Red could be a solid option
England have the perfect opportunity to make a statement for the three-match series and the ICC Champions Trophy by defeating the Proteas at Headingley.
The Three Lions have a strong record in Birmingham and have enough players in prime form to get the series off to a winning start following their returns from IPL duty.
South Africa have the talent to put Morgan’s men on the back foot, but they might be caught off guard in the opening match – therefore backing -122 with Marathon Bet is the option to take.
England To Beat South Africa 1st ODI
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Joe Root To Top Score For England
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Quinton de Kock To Top Score for South Africa
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