The visitors put on a solid showing when batting first last time out, and their early innings stability proved fruitful as they manoeuvred their way to 333 from their 50 overs, leaving England needing to achieve the highest ever ODI run chase at the Riverside ground in order to claim victory, so it’s no surprise they fell short.
England, ultimately, looked like an extremely unbalanced side as while their batting attack is one of the most dangerous in the game at the moment, their lack of prolificacy with the ball has led to their downfall on Tuesday, and it’s only going to get weaker here with the retirement of Ben Stokes.
Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Brydon Carse and Adil Rashid formed the brunt of the attack, though just three wickets in 37 overs between them leaves plenty to be desired, and with the quality of this South African batting line-up it’s hard to see how that’s turning around.
England lost the opener in their series against India too, by a far more convincing margin, though that match saw all of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jason Roy and Liam Livingston put on a total of seven runs between them, something that was simply an anomaly, and they were always going to bounce back.
Bairstow, Root and Roy were England’s top scorers this time round, with 192 between them and it’s the bowling attack that need to step it up a gear this time.
England To Win
South Africa have a decent record at Old Trafford, although from just three outings, with a W2-L1 record here, including wins in their last two visits. Ultimately, it’s been nearly two decades since they last played here though, and we’d expect those results to have little bearing on this one even if it is worth keeping in mind.
The visitors still have only won four of their last 16 outings in England, and haven’t won back-to-back matches in a series since 1998. Their recent form isn’t all that impressive, and consistency was an issue in March when hosting Bangladesh. They were impressive in the opener, though we’d expect the England bowling attack to snap back into life, especially with Reece Topley coming back into the side as expected.
Jos Buttler will be determined to not let a third successive white-ball series as captain slip by the wayside here, and we’d expect a more gathered England approach to this match. The toss won’t have that big of an impact here, as history suggests that losing the toss at Old Trafford yields more success (30 wins, 25 defeats losing the toss), though anything over 300 will be near impossible to chase down on this wicket, so bowling will need to be tight.
ENGLAND TO WIN
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