Sunday’s ODI in East London is set to be the last match in the format for South Africa and Bangladesh in 2017, and they will each eye a good finish, although the game holds a little more importance for Bangladesh, who are trailing 0-2 in the series.
While Bangladesh will look to salvage a win, South Africa will want to finish with their second series-sweep of the year.
The hosts’ dominance has been driven by their batting. The first two ODIs saw AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock make the most of opportunities. While Amla and de Kock made hundreds in the first ODI in Kimberley, setting up a record opening partnership in the process, the second match belonged to de Villiers, who brought up his personal best of 176 off only 104 deliveries.
Shakib Al Hasan’s quick wickets had given Bangladesh some hope in Paarl but once de Villiers began accelerating, particularly after crossing 100, there was little Bangladesh could do to stop him. Rubel Hossain dismissed de Villiers to bring some respite but the match highlighted once again the visitors’ struggles with the ball on this tour – they took a total of 13 wickets across three innings in the Test series, and only six in the two ODIs.
Bangladesh’s batting hasn’t been as dismal but it hasn’t won them matches either. Mushfiqur Rahim has scored 170 runs and has been dismissed once, while Imrul Kayes has struck his first fifty this year in Paarl. The rest, however, have fallen after getting starts. One of the batsmen who may suffer as a result of this inconsistency is Liton Das, who could be replaced by Soumya Sarkar.
South Africa’s bowling has done just about enough to keep Bangladesh quiet in both matches. Kagiso Rabada constantly pushed them back with his pace, movement and bounce while Imran Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo have also been among the wickets.
South Africa WWLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
In Paarl, JP Duminy turned the strike over to a belligerent de Villiers, contributing 27 runs in a partnership of 117. However, once de Villiers was dismissed in the 48th over, Duminy could not find the big shots to boost South Africa further. He hit only one six in his run-a-ball 30 and will hope to set things right in the third ODI, if given the chance.
After scoring 93 runs in the Test series, and fending off questions on his captaincy, Mushfiqur Rahim has had a better time in the ODIs with scores of 110 not out and 60. He needs another 51 runs to bring up his most productive bilateral ODI series, surpassing the 220 runs he made against Pakistan in 2015.
Amla has been rested and his replacement, Aiden Markram, could be in line for an ODI debut. Temba Bavuma is another contender for that spot. Wiaan Mulder, the 19-year-old allrounder, could replace Dwaine Pretorius. David Miller, who had missed the second ODI because of a groin injury, will undergo a late fitness test on Sunday morning to determine his availability.
South Africa (probable): 1 Aiden Markram/Temba Bavuma, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller/Farhaan Behardien, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Wiaan Mulder, 9 Dane Paterson, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir
With Tamim Iqbal ruled out, Bangladesh could promote Shakib to No 3 and replace Liton Das with Soumya Sarkar. Nasir Hossain could also be replaced by Mehidy Hasan or Mohammad Saifuddin, depending on how the Bangladesh team management read the track at Buffalo Park.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Soumya Sarkar/Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin/Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
The average score batting first at the reputedly slow-and-low Buffalo Park pitches this year has been 254. But only teams who have scored 300-plus have won matches batting first. The weather forecast predicts a dry day in East London.
Stats and trivia
-De Villiers’ whirlwind 176 was his 25th ODI hundred, one less than Amla’s century tally.
-Rubel needs three wickets to become the fifth Bangladesh bowler to take 100 ODI wickets
-In five List A matches this year in Buffalo Park, teams batting first lost the match on three occasions.
-Sunday’s match will be Mashrafe Mortaza’s 50th as captain in ODIs. Only Shakib Al Hasan and Habibul Bashar have captained Bangladesh in 50 or more ODIs before.
“We have put a lot of focus on what we are trying to achieve and fortunately for us we have blown them away in all departments. It doesn’t take away what is going to happen tomorrow, I still believe that Bangladesh will come out and try to prove a point and try to get back into this tour.”
“It is still possible [to do well] but if we go about our job the way we played the last two matches, things become harder.”
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza