Sports correspondent Zaahier Adams looks at five things the Proteas need to do to achieve victory against England.
Cape Town – The Proteas Men’s team face off against world champions England in the first ODI on Tuesday in Durham.
Sports correspondent Zaahier Adams looks at five things they need to do to achieve victory.
Strike in the Powerplay
It might sound like the most obvious thing to take wickets upfront with the new ball, but it is quintessential against a team like England. Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow not only lay the groundwork, but they are the fulcrum on England’s attacking gameplan.
Getting early wickets won’t stop England’s batters from continuing to swing hard, but it will limit the damage at the backend of the innings when it’s carnival time.
Get spin into the attack early
The Proteas won’t be afraid to utilise Keshav Maharaj with the new ball, and while Bairstow may enjoy biffing the left-arm spinner over his head for six, it could be Roy’s kryptonite.
Roy famously fell to Imran Tahir in the opening over of the 2019 World Cup, and Maharaj will be looking for a repeat of that success.
Take the catches
England’s high-risk approach offers up plenty of opportunities. It is imperative that the Proteas hold on to their chances. The ball will be flying to all parts, and sometimes to fielders, and they will need to be ready.
Often a dropped catch provides England with the momentum to keep on playing, so when the ball is in the air be sure to pouch it.
Be bold with the bat
The sun is out and the pitches are good. High scores are expected in this ODI series, and England are not going to die wondering. The Proteas batters will have to match them.
They have the personnel in Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, etc to transfer the pressure on to the England bowlers.
South Africa have the potential to post scores in excess of 350 – they just need to believe that they can!
Support captain Keshav Maharaj
Temba Bavuma’s absence from the ODI team is a major blow to the Proteas. Not only has the skipper been in good form in the longer limited-overs format, but his tactical acumen is a major asset.
Maharaj will need support from the senior players around him because the spotlight will be firmly on the stand-in skipper throughout this ODI series.
It is not easy to stay calm when England’s batters have their foot on the pedal, but this will be easier if Maharaj doesn’t feel like he is alone out there trying to control matters.