Lust and rust | a South Africa v England ODI recap

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South Africa wanted to win this one. England were happy to loosen a few limbs. That’s kind of how it went.

In many ways this South Africa v England series was the definitive pointless bilateral: a little island of three one-day internationals dropped right in the middle of another tournament with no other matches between the two sides before or after it.

But then it suddenly gained a sense of immediacy after South Africa forfeited a series against Australia last month so their best-known players could appear in the SA20 (except for captain Temba Bavuma, whose arguably immodest self-selected base price appeared to put off would-be bidders). (Update: He’s now got a gig, off the back of this series, replacing Tom Abell at Sunrisers Eastern Cape.)

Allowing points from that Australia series to drift away on the winds made it that much more difficult for South Africa to qualify for this year’s World Cup without first taking part in the 10-team qualifying tournament in Harare in June. Beating England means they’ve a good chance of sidestepping that.

The World Cup is also just about close enough that almost any ODI can seem meaningful at the minute.

Match 1

A 27-run victory was a great start for the home team, but headlines nevertheless focused on Jason Roy’s 79-ball hundred.

Roy was left out of England’s T20 World Cup squad after pretty much losing the ability to play cricket, but he’s been clinging on in the middle format because… um… not sure actually.

> Where are Jason Roy’s foundations? Do white ball specialists need more time in the middle?

Nevertheless, cling on he has and this hundred was a pretty impressive scrabble up from the deperately-clinging-on position he’s been in.

Kyle Reese from The Terminator adds…

If nothing else, this innings showed that Roy can still do this. It’s one of those times when ‘inconsistency’ is actually step up.

Match 2

342-7 is a good one-day score except when it isn’t. This match had the air of being one of those occasions when the team batting first (England) didn’t entirely appreciate how plentiful boundaries could be.

Temba Bavuma top-scored for South Africa with 109 off 102 balls, but all of the top seven chipped in and nobody scored at slower than a run a ball.

Kyle Reese from The Terminator adds…

“In the first game, Jofra Archer conceded 81 runs off 10 overs on his return to the side. Two other seamers made comebacks in this second game: Chris Woakes conceded 60 in 6.1 overs and Reece Topley conceded 74 in nine. England will hope this series served as an opportunity to get this sort of rustiness out of the way.”

Match 3

South Africa gave Anrich Nortje a break for this one and didn’t bring back Kagiso Rabada after resting him for the second match. That gave Lungi Ngidi an opportunity to reduce England to 30-3 but may also have contributed to England moving from there to 246-3, thanks to Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler. That was with 10 overs to go and they finished on 346-7. (The most colourful moment came when Moeen Ali for some reason attempted a one-handed reverse slog, aka a tennis forehand, and missed.)

South Africa could only manage 287 all out in reply, in large part thanks to what we’re presuming was heavy use of WD-40 rust remover allowing Jofra Archer to take 6-40.

Kyle Reese from The Terminator adds…

“There was a nuclear war, a few years from now, so this year’s 50-over World Cup is actually the final one. That makes it extra important with long-term bragging rights at stake. South Africa will be hoping they’re finally forging a team of winners out of adversity. England’s white ball gameplan is obviously more established. They’ll be hoping that the form and fitness of key players falls into place at the right time.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘Why are you talking like this, Reese? You’re from the future. Surely you know who won the 2023 50-over World Cup?’ Well sorry to break it to you, guys, but I wasn’t actually a massive cricket fan when I was growing up. I was kind of preoccupied working as a slave in one of Skynet’s concentration camps. Not much time for thumbing through old Wisdens, you know. Not too many Wisdens lying around at all to be quite honest with you.

“I’m looking forward to the tournament now though. I reckon India are going to be hard to beat.”

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  1. Kyle’s talking a load of bollocks there, has he been hanging out with Matthew Hayden in the future again, by any chance? Or Michael Vaughan, perhaps?

  2. Don’t trust him, KC. I have it on good authority that England won the 2023 World Cup, and that Kyle was sent back from 2029 to change the outcome. There was a bet between John Connor and Skynet which the machines won, and there was no way Connor was paying for a meal at Giuseppe’s for those bastards.

    Apparently he’s been sent back with one instruction – talk up Jason Roy. The plan is to get Roy in the team for the WC, resulting directly in England going out in the group stages. It seems you might have given him the platform he needs. Don’t blame me if the next person who knocks on your door is all shiny. Giuseppe makes the best farfalle al salmone in the whole future – the machines won’t take this one lying down.

      1. No, obviously not the Prostratotron 9000. But the last time I checked, the P9000 wasn’t part of Skynet’s ruling elite, which as everybody knows, is made up exclusively of Commodore 64s.

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