Ed Hawkins says the hosts can go close to an unassailable 2-0 lead in Bloemfontein on Wednesday if they bat first
"De Kock is likely to be chomping at the bit to get out on the Bloemfontein surface. In that 2016 match against England he smashed an unbeaten 138 off 96 balls in a losing cause"
South Africa v Australia
Wednesday 4 March, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Klaasen lifts hosts
South Africa produced a superb effort to down hot favourites Australia in game one in Paarl. They played perfectly to their strengths; recognising that a monster score was not required and then squeezing the life from Australia.
It wouldn't have been possible, though, without a breakthrough innings from Heinrich Klaasen. Klaasen's 123 from 114 was a major boost for a country that has suffered significant Kolpak player drain down the years. He's booked his spot in the team for a year at least off the back of that innings.
Klaasen's emergence could also take the pressure off David Miler, who played a superb supporting role. Miller has always seemed to suffer from expectancy and with two power players in the middle order now, South Africa are looking strong.
The loss of Kagiso Rabada, the pacer, to injury is a blow. Not that Lungi Ngidi seemed bothered. He led the bowling group with skill and courage. South Africa could play two specialist spinners again, a batting all-rounder in JJ Smuts or add pace in the form of Beuran Hendricks or Lutho Sipamla.
Possible XI Malan, De Kock, Bavuma, Verreynne, Klaasen, Miller, Smuts, Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, Nortje, Ngidi
Aussie weakness exposed again
A target of 292 should not have been beyond Australia's big bats one would have thought. Unless, of course, you knew of their struggles away from home in a chase.
It's now only six wins in their last 18 chases on the road. That is a significant problem. As soon as Aaron Finch and David Warner were split, denying the tourists a fast start, they were in trouble.
In that regard, Australia are predictable. Finch and Warner have to blitz to take the pressure off a middle- and lower-order which struggles to score quickly. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are solid accumulators but big boundary ratios are beyond them.
They know it, too. That's why they experimented with D'Arcy Short, an opener, at No 7. They miss Glenn Maxwell who does the big hitting and part-time bowling.
Probable XI Warner, Finch, Smith, Labuschagne, Marsh, Carey, Short, Cummins, Starc, Zampa, Hazlewood
In this week's Cricket...Only Bettor: the importance of ignoring emotion
Runfest likely gh
This one is under lights so the first check is whether there is a bias on the toss. Nope. It's a 7-6 split in favour of the side batting first in 14 results with one tie. The last five first-innings scores in all conditions (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 198-1/399-1/315-1/266-2/351-1.
From that sample it suggests we should brace ourselves for big runs. More than 300 would appear to be a must. South Africa defended the 198 in 2018 against a hapless Zimbabwe. England, in the throes of their ODI revolution, smashed the 399 in 2016. It could be a match to test big numbers on innings runs, then, spreading small stakes from 325 to 350 or more.
South Africa suited to bowling first
There's little respect for South Africa on the match odds market despite that impressive win in Paarl. They are as big as [3.20] with Australia [1.44].
Clearly the rationale is that Australia cannot be as poor again. And they probably won't be - but there's no guarantee of success if they chase, as discussed.
It would be the height of stupidity, therefore, to bet Australia pre-toss. We beseech you not to get with them in a chase. A shrewder move, which paid off in game one, is to take chunky South Africa prices if they bat first.
De Kock has ground form
De Kock is likely to be chomping at the bit to get out on the Bloemfontein surface. In that 2016 match against England he smashed an unbeaten 138 off 96 balls in a losing cause. It still won him the man of the match award, though. De Kock is 11/5 for top SA bat with Sportsbook, 5/4 for a fifty and 6/1 for another match gong. Klaasen has been cut from 10s to 11/2 for honours after his ton. Warner is 11/4 jolly for top Australia bat with Finch and Smith 3/1.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
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