Ahead of the upcoming Champions Trophy, England will take on No 1 ODI team South Africa in a three-match ODI series beginning on Wednesday. The first ODI starts at Leeds on Wednesday. England and South Africa are fielding their best XI with all players being fit and raring to go. Most of the England and South Africa are coming off from the highly successful IPL season and would look to carry forward their good form into the series.
Injuries update: South Africa: AB de Villiers was struggling with his back injury during the recently concluded IPL 2017. He missed a few matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore. But he seems fit now and ready to captain South Africa to another series. Quinton de Kock has recovered from his finger injury and looks fit and raring to go. Quinton de Kock has missed the entire IPL season.
England: Most of the Englishmen are fit and are moving straight into the series either from the IPL or the series against Ireland. Ben Stokes has to leave IPL before play-offs to attend to national duty. He will be key to England chances. Eoin Morgan, Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler, Sam Billings too did IPL duty, so they have to work hard to ward off fatigue to compete in the ODI series against South Africa.
Battles within the battle:
Ben Stokes vs AB de Villiers: It will be great sight to see the world’s best batsman AB de Villiers takes on one of the best all-rounders in limited-overs cricket, Ben Stokes. Can AB slam his 360 degree shots against Stokes? Can Stokes get the better of AB? It will make for an exciting ODI series.
Eoin Morgan vs K Rabada: The England skipper is one of the best batsmen for his team. And South Africa will go all out to take Morgan’s wicket. Rabada will be key to South Africa’s success in series. Can Rabada make Morgan sweat it out? Or Morgan will get the better of Rabada?
England playing XI: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood
South Africa playing XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (captain), JP Duminy, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir
Prediction: South Africa have been the most consistent teams in ODIs. They are on a roll, winning six bilateral series. With in-form players such as Amla, AB, Tahir in their ranks, they should have it easy against England. But Eoin Morgan and Co. have been one of the most improved teams in white-ball cricket recently. Stokes, Woakes have had a great IPL and they would look to carry on with their form in the series as well. Our vote, however, goes to South Africa to win the series.