South Africa v Zimbabwe Third ODI Betting: Zims have missed their chance
Ed Hawkins previews the dead rubber from Paarl on Saturday as the tourists try to restore some pride after two heavy beatings...
"With the bat, Heinrich Klaasen still appeals. He has the destructive power to 'do a De Villiers'."
South Africa v Zimbabwe
Saturday, 12:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports
Room for improvement for hosts
South Africa are 2-0 up and the series has been won. But all is not well. Their batting performances have been well below par and they should be alarmed at how an under-strength Zimbabwe bowling unit has exposed their frailties.
In Bloemfontein, on a good batting wicket, South Africa could manage only 198. That is probably 120 runs short of what they should have achieved.
Clearly the holes left by Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock are sizeable, not to mention the retired AB De Villiers. At 101 for seven, South Africa were indebted to a 60 from Dale Steyn. Laughably, he was their top run scorer.
Steyn then got the ball rolling in the defence, taking two wickets but Imran Tahir's six wickets saved their blushes as the tourists were bowled out for just 78. If Zimbabwe were not so hapless with the bat, defeat would have been guaranteed.
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, Khaya Zondo and Christiaan Jonker have all failed to make the most of opportunity afforded them by absent players. It must be troubling that South Africa have so little in reserve.
Z mark for Zims
Zimbabwe are paupers of the international game, they suffer from an incompetent administration, government interference and their players go for large stretches without being paid. So they get our sympathy. But really they should be level.
From 101 for seven, South Africa were there for the taking. Even the target of 199 shouldn't have been especially tough. At 43 for two, they looked capable with Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor, their two best batters, at the crease. Unfortunately Taylor was then out leg before to Tahir and the game was up.
Taylor's form is a significant worry - for us and Zimbabwe. We have twice backed him for top-bat honours at 7/2, cosy in the knowledge that he's an 11/4 chance over his career. But it is beginning to look as if he is badly out of touch.
There is little Zimbabwe can do to rectify matters. One suspects that this was their big chance and they blew it. For all of South Africa's foibles with the bat, the likelihood is that keeping them quiet for three games out of three is too big an ask.
Wicket good for runs
There have been 11 ODI at Paarl with six won by the side batting first. This game is under lights, though, and with that filter applied it's three wins in five with one tie. The wicket is good for batting. South Africa amassed 353 for six against Bangladesh last year. De Villiers did make 176, though. Tahir took three wickets. Despite the history for runs, Betfair Sportbook's initial quote of over/under 208.5 runs for Zimbabwe seems high. At last check it was suspended but it would see business even if it was 20 runs fewer for sellers.
Man of the match prices catch eye
There's not much doing on the match odds. South Africa are [1.07] and Zimbabwe [13.5]. Instead the game changers on the home side will be of interest for man of the match. Tahir is an 8/1 shot. Steyn comes in at 9/1. Kagiso rabada, who has the potential to run through the Zim line-up, is 7s. With the bat, Heinrich Klaasen still appeals. He has the destructive power to 'do a De Villiers'. He is 11/1 for man of the match. Hendricks would argue he has as big a bat and gets an 8/1 quote.
Elgar and Markram runs quotes too high
Klaasen is 5/1 for top runscorer honours with Hendricks 7/2. Openers Elgar and Markram are the 11/4 joint favourites. Elgar and Markram get runs quotes from Sportsbook. Elgar is 10/11 over/under 31.5 and Markram is the same. Elgar, who has played only eight ODI, does not warrant such a high number with an average (not including not outs) of 14.8 runs per innings. Markram's number is 23.
Taylor has been cut for top-bat honours by Sportsbook, presumably on the basis that he is due a score. He's into 10/3. It remains value on his career numbers and as we have said previously, no-one comes close to his record against the established nations.
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