Ed Hawkins previews the night match from Buffalo Park on Tuesday and picks on two home players to star...
"We’d like to advise Zimbabwe at the odds because the gulf between the teams is not as big. South Africa are hardly inspirational in this format"
South Africa v Zimbabwe
Tuesday 9 October 17.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa shuffle pack
South Africa have shuffled their pack for the three-match T20 series. Out go the likes of Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada. But Faf Du Plessis, remains, and Quinton de Kock gets a game.
There will be some experiments taking place. All-rounder Robbie Frylinck at 33 gets a chance to nail down a spot. His numbers are good with bat and ball domestically and he should be capable of reproducing those performances in what is, essentially, domestic standard.
Gihate Cloete, a team-mate of De Kock's from the under-19 set up, could get a debut alongside Rassie van der Dussen, who has been hitting a long ball domestically for a while. Quicks Junior Dala and Dale Peterson are also in the mix for a start.
Despite the changes, there are some gun players still available. Imran Tahir is the sort of name on the teamsheet that puts you off a speculative punt on the Zimbs, likewise Heinrich Klaasen. David Miller and JP Duminy are experienced heads in the middle order.
Zims better equipped
Zimbabwe were given a solid duffing up in the three-match one-day series. They were never able to capitalise on shaky South Africa batting as their own willowmen were hugely disappointing.
In a shorter format they will not be as severely tested. Indeed, they took Pakistan and Australia to the last over in contests - that word is not used lazily - in the summer.
As usual, much depends on Brendan Taylor. Taylor had a disappointing ODI leg and only found a semblance of form until it was too late. Even then his 40 in the third ODI made little impact. Taylor is 7/2 for top-bat honours with Sportsbook.
Solomon Mire, who was shocking with scores of 0, 2 and 7, is their great hope at the top of the order. He is the closest Zimbabwe have to a dasher in the opening berth. Mire is 7/2 and if he'd had a score under his belt we'd be tempted to get involved.
Fair wicket expected
Last month East London hosted Africa Cup matches. The scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 130-2/134-2/174-1/137-2/183-t/216-1/130-2/188-1/175-2/170-1/193-2/166-2/150-1. So the wicket seems pretty fair to bat and ball. With seven matches won by the chaser from 13 we cannot claim a toss bias. Considering a score of 193 was chased it seems to hold up pretty well for batters. This will be only the second T20 international played at Buffalo Park.
Is the gap justified?
South Africa are [1.11] with Zimbabwe [9.2]. We'd like to advise Zimbabwe at the odds because the gulf between the teams is not as big. South Africa are hardly inspirational in this format.
Still, it feels like we're searching for a bet and we'd rather wait to see if we can get decent odds on Zimbabwe with either weather conditions or a toss bias reducing the gulf a little bit more in our favour. The forecast, by the way, is good with no rain expected.
Gun players to the fore
De Kock is a stellar performer at this level and we're happy to take Betfair Sportsbook's 23/10 that he top scores. The absence of Amla is significant and increases the chances of the blaster coming out on top. By our numbers we have De Kock a decent chunk shorter so there's no fear we're taking a wrong price.
Another home player we expect to go well is Tahir. He is 17/10 with Sportsbook and that's a five per cent edge in our favour in terms of how often he cops. Both these wagers can be considered Hawk Eye stats bet as they fit the criteria.