Ed Hawkins wonders whether poor weather will make run-making tricky at The Wanderers on Sunday
"De Villiers didn’t even win top bat that day. Hashim Amla pipped him with 153. It was bitter-sweet for punters. Imagine if you’d backed Amala for big numbers (probably 12/1) for man of the match only to be denied by AB"
The weather could spoil a significant edge for punters at The Wanderers, a venue which has been run-laden in ODI in the past few years.
Those with good memories will have not forgotten the record-breaking blitz by AB De Villiers at Jo'burg in 2015. De Villiers smashed 149 from 44 balls including 16 sixes. His strike rate of 338 was the norm if you were playing Stick Cricket, the cult computer game that was sort of a precursor to the T10 for chaos.
Amazingly, De Villiers didn't even win top bat that day. Hashim Amla pipped him with 153. It was bitter-sweet for punters. Imagine if you'd backed Amala for big numbers (probably 12/1) for man of the match only to be denied by AB. Spare a thought for those who fancied Rilee Rossouw, who also notched a fine century.
It's fair to say, then, that the strokemakers like the venue. It was only in 2006 when South Africa and Australia appeared to usher in a new era of a bat-dominated format in that extraordinary, history re-writing chase. The Aussie target of 434 being chased down with a ball to spare.
Sportsbook go 6/5 that a century will be scored in first-innings, a price that immediately leaps from the coupon because of past history. Does it bear scrutiny of a scorecard search? Yes. In the last ten years, including day and day-night contests, it would have been a winner seven times out of 11.
Unfortunately, the weather is poor and we would be surprised if a few overs were not knocked over the 50 for the team batting first. Admittedly the frontrunners are usually notching with time to spare but it doesn't make a great deal of sense to be betting big runs when the opportunity for them is reduced.
We expect a delayed start in Johannesburg and although the rain is likely to disrupt the second innings more, it is important to be aware of the possibility of a 40- or 45-over contest if you're swayed by the pitch and the data.
Roy the boy
Some might argue that there is not the batting talent on show for a three figures. And few could blame those who hold the view that they would much rather England bat first considering their heavyweights.
England could be on the path to finding out they don't have quite the strength in depth with the ball that they assumed, but there is no reason to doubt their batting prowess. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are as destructive as anyone on flat pitches. If they get one here, both should score well.
Neither quite for the bill for top England runscorer at 3/1 and 7/2 respectively, although as discussed in the match preview Joe Root is stinking the place out at 11/4 (see win rates below).
Roy is 5/6 with Sportsbook for 32 runs or more. It's tight, with him winning 42 out of 82 in his career when opening. His win percentage jumps to 52.3% when batting first. Bairstow has a 63% win rate at Sportsbook over 28.5 rate at 4/5 when opening.
Top SA bat wins/matches
De Kock 13/34
Van Der Dussen 2/17
Top SA bowler wins/matches
Ngidi 6 4t/23
Shamsi 1 1t/11
Phehlukwayo 4 4t/33
Top England bat wins/matches
Bairstow 10 1t/50
Root 9 1t/59
Top England bowler wins/matches
Woakes 6 7t/39
Ali 3 5t/49
T Curran 3 1t/18