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SA spinners set to shine

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Whilst the Proteas won the first ODI comfortably, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels as yet

The spin duo of Tabraiz Shamsi and Jon Jon Smuts could turn the game South Africa’s way when they face England in the second ODI at Kingsmead today.

The one thing which was noticeable during the Dolphins recent Momentum One Day Cup victory over the Knights at Kingsmead was that the wicket was spin friendly and not exactly an easy proposition for batters.

After setting the Knights a target of 210 for victory, the Dolphins bowled out their opponents for just 115. Spinners Keshav Maharaj and Imran Tahir were among the chief destroyers for the KZN side with good support from pace bowler Kerwin Mungroo.

The Proteas brains-trust will have taken note. The retirement of Tahir from One Day internationals presents Shamsi with an opportunity to firmly establish himself as South Africa’s front-line white ball spinner.

The extra bounce which is found on the Kingsmead pitch should provide Shamsi and Smuts with something to look forward to. Shamsi did highlight that he is looking forward to the extra bounce at Kings-mead when he spoke to the media yesterday.

As a result of being more or less a squad rotation player over the years, Shamsi’s progress may have been curtailed and this is something which he is aiming to rectify.

“Previously when I played an odd game, it was only about three months later when I could correct my mistakes. There was not that consistency (which comes with playing regularly). It was nice to get off to a good start” he added.

Smuts meanwhile has a good opportunity to stake a claim for the batting all-rounder role which was formerly held by JP Duminy who has since retired from all forms of cricket.

Kingsmead has been a happy hunting ground for the Proteas during recent years as they have won most of their last 10 games at Durban’s home of cricket which includes winning their last two consecutive games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the ground. The last time that they tasted defeat at the ground was against India in February 2018 following a Virat Kohli masterclass century.

Whilst the Proteas won the first ODI comfortably, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels as yet. The current English side have plenty of strength in depth and are perfectly capable of bouncing back strongly as they did after losing the opening boxing day Test match at Centurion before going on to demolish the Proteas 3-1 in the four Test series.

Possible Teams

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk, capt), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Joe Denly, Tom Banton, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.