Mark Wood’s heroics in the final over guided England to a two-run victory over South Africa in the second ODI at the Ageas Bowl, securing the series victory in the process.
The Proteas needed only seven runs off the last over to bring themselves level in the series heading into the final match at Lord’s.
However, Wood held his nerve against David Miller and Colin Morris to concede only four off his six deliveries, driving the Three Lions over the line to the triumph.
Ben Stokes had previously scored a century to guide England to another score of over 300, while Jos Buttler notched a half-century with late striking late in the innings, highlighting the depth of talent the Three Lions have at their disposal ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Eoin Morgan’s men have now won their last eight matches on the bounce and will be aiming to head into the tournament with nine-straight victories under their belts.
South Africa’s old frailties of cracking under the pressure were yet again exposed after performing so well to engineer a match-winning position. Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Miller and Morris all fired, but it was not enough for the Proteas to avoid a series defeat.
De Villiers will now have to fire up his team to respond at Lord’s in the hope of entering the Champions Trophy not on the back off three defeats on the bounce.
We’ll now break down the latest betting odds for the third match of the series as England pursue their third whitewash on the bounce.
Stokes had a bizarre innings at the Ageas Bowl. The 25-year-old could have been dismissed first ball, but was dropped by Hashim Amla off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj and was then put down by De Kock the following delivery.
He made the Proteas pay for their failures with a crushing century, displaying his power, but also the guile that he has started to add to his game.
Stokes’ form with the bat will delight the Three Lions ahead of the tournament, with the possibility of moving him up in the order from number five pending on the situation.
The 25-year-old is slowly elevating his average into the low thirties, but will need to maintain his strong level of recent form to become a truly world-class operator with bat and ball.
One man who already has the status of being at the top of the sport is Joe Root. The Yorkshireman has endured a frustrating series thus far, getting two scores in the thirties, but being unable to push on from his promising starts.
His dismissal at Headingley was a poor decision on his part, but he suffered bad luck at the Ageas Bowl when he was run out by Dwaine Pretorius, who flicked Morgan’s shot on to the stumps at the non-strikers’ end.
Root looked in excellent touch before he unfortunately lost his wicket, but players of his ilk have no problem bouncing back to form. He should be determined to get one meaningful score under his belt before the Champions Trophy begins on Thursday and Lord’s is the perfect venue to fire.
Therefore backing him to top score for the Three Lions at +333 with Bet365 is the bet to take.
De Kock was denied a century by decent delivery from Moeen Ali, falling two runs short of his 12th ODI ton. The 24-year-old bounced back from his cheap dismissal at Headingley with a confident innings, taking the attack to the England bowlers by dispatching the ball to the boundary 11 times.
He has been more explosive, but the Proteas’ wicket-keeper showed great poise at the crease to put his team into a strong position. De Kock will have been frustrated that he could not see his side to victory, but he will have been pleased to strike the ball cleanly ahead of the Champions Trophy.
The 24-year-old’s form will be vital to his side in the tournament and his ability to play spin will be crucial with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on the horizon – therefore sorting any issues against the turning ball with a strong performance at Lord’s will send him into those matches with confidence.
Amla performed well in the first match, but failed to get his side over the line when he was dismissed for 73. The 34-year-old got another start at the Ageas Bowl, notching 24 runs before he fell to Stokes with a tame dismissal firing straight to Morgan at cover.
He’s a far too talented player not be cashing in on his good touch at the crease. Therefore he should be able to rack up a high score at the home of cricket, especially if the conditions continue to favour batting as they have done so far this series.
As a result, backing Amla at +333 with William Hill to top score for the Proteas in the third ODI is the bet to take.
Adil Rashid has been quiet in the first two matches, taking two wickets in the opening before failing to strike at the Ageas Bowl. The 29-year-old has become a vitally important player for the Three Lions over the last two years following his recall into the side.
His ability to take wickets during the middle overs was something that England had lost following the retirement of Graeme Swann in 2013, but the Yorkshireman has been able pick up the mantle to alleviate the pressure on the seam bowlers.
The Proteas’ batsmen have tried to put him under pressure by taking the attack to him, and although his economy rate has not been miserly – it has been good enough for Morgan to keep the leg-spinner in the attack.
Rashid will be a vital player for England at the Champions Trophy and it’s important for him to find his best form ahead of the tournament next week. As a result, backing him to fire at Lord’s with odds of +400 with SkyBet.
England will be eyeing their ninth win on the spin to potentially close in on their all-time record for consecutive wins of 11 in the Champions Trophy.
Morgan’s men are full of confidence and will be desperate to sign off ahead of their campaign with another victory. The Three Lions are playing extremely well with both bat and ball, with the Proteas left scrambling with their preparations for the competition.
Therefore back England to complete the whitewash with a victory at Lord’s at odds of -110 with Betfred.
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