The second ODI between South Africa and Australia takes place on Wednesday in Bloemfontein with the home side out to secure the series after a fine win in the opening match on Saturday. With one match to come South Africa have the outcome in their hands.
Australia will have been shocked to lose the first game, especially by the margin that they did so by, and they will be out to level up the series here and force a decider at the weekend in order to take both limited overs trophies home with them.
When you consider the two brutal beatings that South Africa took in the T20 matches that proceeded this series, the win in the first ODI came as a bit of a surprise but they deserve eternal credit for turning things around. Such is the reputation of their opponent they are likely to need even more if they are going to win the series here and now. That represents a significant challenge but they can play with a little freedom having won that opening match.
The positive for the hosts is that even though they were dominant in that first game, there is even more to come from them. Some of their top order failed in that opener so if they catch fire in this one then they can put up an even more daunting total. One area where there isn’t as much improvement in them is with the ball, but if they repeat their display from the opening game then they are going to put South Africa in a very good position.
It might have been a bad day at the office, or it might have been an ounce of complacency, or even the lure of the plane home on the horizon, but whatever it was they will know they need a dramatic improvement on that display if they are to get back in the series and force a deciding match. They need an improvement with the bat and the ball but if they can find that then they showed in the T20 series they are more than good enough to come out on top here.
To be fair to the Australians, they were adequate with the ball in that opening match, restricting South Africa to a slightly above par total, but they were found wanting with the bat on a pitch that probably ended up going against them, and that is where their focus will need to be heading into this second match. Australia are playing under pressure from here on in as one more loss and the series will have gone.
South Africa are not expected to change a winning team but if they do want to switch things up they could bring Jon-Jon Smuts into the side. Janneman Malan could be vulnerable after his first ball duck in the opening game.
Given how well Ashton Agar bowled in the T20 series it was a surprise that he was left out of the opening ODI. Although him coming in would weaken the batting line up it could be a move that is worth making.
This is historically a high scoring ground with a number of 300 plus scores put up in the first innings here but the second innings isn’t always as easy for batting but the early scores puts me off taking the under in the runs like I did in the first game of the series. Looking around most of the other lines and prices look about right but there is one bet that I’m going to take which is the alternative option to the runs.
The sixes line for this contest is 11.5 and that feels a little high to me. I say that because there was only four of them at Boland Park and the Mangaung Oval is a bigger ground than that one is. One of the reasons for the few sixes is the quality of the bowling attacks on show. These two attacks are not going to go around the park very easily too often. If the wicket here slows up like it has been previously then big hits in the second innings might not come naturally. That makes the line feel a little high so I’ll play the under in this one.
WON – Back Under 11.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365