A disappointing end to the last series from an England perspective saw India cruise to a comprehensive victory in the ODI decider on Sunday. Ultimately, England’s top order weren’t consistent enough throughout the series, though showed glimpses of brilliance in the second ODI. Jos Buttler’s men will have to dust themselves off and go again in the first of another three-match series, this time against South Africa.
The visitors come into this series having not played competitive ODI cricket for four months, and they could be slightly rusty. That outing was the series decider at home to Bangladesh, a match they lost by some margin with their opponents chasing down the total with 141 balls to spare. That 2-1 defeat came as a bit of a shock considering the Proteas came into the series off the back of a 3-0 win against India.
England To Win
That inconsistency leaves some question marks over the visitors, and their recent away record leaves much to be desired too. Indeed, they’ve won just one of their last four away ODI series, with their most recent two seeing them lose in Sri Lanka and draw 1-1 in Ireland, with the latter result the most surprising of the lot.
England have a good record here at the Riverside Ground too. They’ve won each of their last four outings here, coming against New Zealand (twice), Australia and Sri Lanka, with the win against the latter coming just last year with Joe Root putting on a dominant display and top scoring with 79*.
Jonny Bairstow Top England Runscorer
While Root is in good nick at the moment, it’s Jonny Bairstow that takes our fancy here as the top run scorer. He’s been exceptional for the test side and while he didn’t have the greatest series against India, he still managed a run-a-ball 38 in the second match and his record here is too good to ignore.
He averages 103.67 at the Riverside Ground, his highest at any ground he’s played more than a single match at (he’s played four matches here), while he’s also got a 100% win record. He holds three of the top 23 top scores here, and he’s worth backing to drag his country over the line again.
South Africa shouldn’t be underestimated by any stretch, but their away record in England isn’t great. They’ve won just three of their last 15 outings away against England, and with the hosts hot off a competitive series against India, they look the more likely to hit the ground running.
This will be Ben Stokes’ last ODI for England having announced his retirement form this format, and that will only serve to spur the hosts on, so the England win looks worth a flutter too.
ENGLAND TO WIN
JONNY BAIRSTOW TOP ENGLAND RUNSCORER
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