England put forward a dominant performance in the opening match of their ODI series against South Africa, securing a comfortable victory by 72 runs.
Skipper Eoin Morgan led the way with a captain’s innings, scoring a century to propel the Three Lions over the 300-run mark, with the aid of fine hitting from Moeen Ali.
The Proteas were forced to chase 340 at Headingley and although Quinton de Kock departed for only five, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis appeared to have their side on course.
However, a flurry of wickets in the middle order allowed England to gain the upper hand, and even though AD de Villiers smashed some lusty blows – his dismissal at the hands of Ali ended South Africa’s hopes of victory.
Chris Woakes secured the win for the Three Lions with two late strikes, earning a vital win in their hopes of entering the ICC Champions Trophy full of momentum.
The Proteas will be desperate to hit back at the Ageas Bowl, but will also be mindful of getting game time under the belts of their 15-man squad ahead of their campaign.
Ben Stokes’ knee injury did not appear to be serious for England, but he will likely be rested with the tournament in mind.
We’ll now break down the betting odds for the second match of the series in Hampshire.
England’s Top Batsman
Morgan led England’s charge in the opening match of the series, scoring his 11th ODI century with a number of great shots around the pitch.
The Three Lions’ captain looked in excellent touch and had no fear attacking the leg-spin threat of Imran Tahir, despite his pedigree as the number one ranked bowler in the world.
The 30-year-old’s knock was even more impressive considering that Joe Root, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Stokes had failed to kick on after getting starts. However, Morgan thrived where his team-mates struggled and along with Ali guided England to their match-winning total.
Ali was equally as brilliant as his captain, showing great striking power at number seven. He picked the ball up beautifully off the pitch, which was highlighted in his ability to fire six sixes into the crowd. The 29-year-old’s approach against Tahir and Chris Morris late in the innings was decisive in putting forward a daunting total for the Proteas to chase.
England’s coaching staff will be hopeful that their batting line-up continues to fire, with only the form of Jason Roy looking to be a concern. He has not been able to fire since his return from the IPL, but his talent should see him return to his best in due course.
His opening partner, Hales, threatened to bludgeon England to a huge total before he was dismissed for 61. He has been reaching decent scores without kicking on, but you get the feeling that a huge innings is not far away. He was furious with himself for falling to the gentle pace of Andile Phehlukwayo and therefore expect Hales to respond with intensity at the Ageas Bowl, with odds of 7/24.50+3503.503.50-0.29 with Bet365.
South Africa’s Top Batsman
The Proteas will be disappointed by their performance with the bat in the opening game. Amla and Du Plessis engineered a strong platform for their side to make a surge for the winning total, only for the duo to lose their wickets relatively cheaply, while the rest of the middle order failed to succeed.
De Villiers displayed signs that he was striking the ball cleanly with a couple of lofty blows, but he could only muster 45 runs in a desperate charge after losing support from Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller and Morris towards the end of the contest.
However, at the least the Proteas proved that they could handle the England attack, especially in the early stages of the contest taking the offensive against Woakes and Mark Wood.
Handling the spin of Adil Rashid and Ali will be a test throughout the series and down the road as well in the Champions Trophy where the Proteas will face spin-heavy attacks.
Amla looked the most comfortable out of the South African batsman and he appeared to be solid rhythm at the top of the order, using the pace of the England bowlers to his advantage. Du Plessis was continuing his outstanding form of 2017 at the crease, but he seemed to confuse himself by moving around the crease.
Fortunately for the two players there’s time to redeem themselves and get back on track in the series. They will not want to waste their excellent touch and there is good value at odds of 4/15.00+4004.004.00-0.25 with William Hill for Du Plessis to lead his team in runs in Hampshire.
Woakes led the wicket column for the Three Lions at Headingley, boosting his reputation further with a fine performance. He will steadily rise up the world rankings should he maintain his level of impressive form. The 28-year-old notched the key strike of Quinton de Kock in the opening overs of the Proteas’ reply, highlighting the importance of wickets in the modern-day game.
Kagiso Rabada did not have a good outing in his first match on English soil. The 22-year-old has rightly earned plaudits for his outstanding displays in his fledgling career, but he had issues with his rhythm and footing at Headingley. The fast bowler sent down three no balls and three wides in his nine overs, which allowed England to take the early initiative.
However, he has the quality to bounce back and will be better for the experience. The pitch at the Ageas Bowl should suit the pace of Rabada better than Headingley, which is notorious for favouring seam and swing bowlers. Due to his talent – the odds of 10/34.33+3333.333.33-0.30 with Bet365 for him to be the leading wicket taker on Saturday is a solid punt to take.
England came out of the blocks fast at South Africa and may have even surprised De Villiers and his side with their resilience, managing to score 340 despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
The Proteas had their moments, but were unable to capitalise in the key moments. The Three Lions cannot expect them to do the same in the second contest – therefore backing South Africa to level the series at 1-1 by claiming victory at Hampshire at odds of 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 with BetFred is the option to take.
South Africa To Beat England 2nd ODI
Saturday May 27th 2017
Alex Hales To Top Score For England
Saturday May 27th 2017
Faf Du Plessis To Top Score For South Africa
Saturday May 27th 2017
Kagiso Rabada To Be Top Bowler
Saturday May 27th 2017
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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