We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Friendly batting conditions are expected once again at Headingley, Leeds. When an ODI was last played at the venue in 2019, three batters ended up scoring a century. Recent history also suggests that it has not been a happy hunting ground for the spinners, especially in the 50-over format.
Probable XI for England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Philip Salt, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley
Probable XI for South Africa: Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj (c), Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
Bowling first or second hasn’t mattered to Anrich Nortje, who is leading the wicket-taking chart (6) in this series. He has been steaming in and dismissing batters both with the new and old ball.
At Manchester, Rassie van der Dussen was dismissed for a duck for the very first time in 37 ODIs. However, he still averages 71 in the format for a reason. Against England, he has added 227 runs at 56, including the highest score of 134 which came in the opening game.
Since the Nottingham T20I against India, Reece Topley has been the best strike bowler for England with the new ball. He has bagged 14 wickets in his last five white-ball games, including the match-defining figures of 2 for 17 against South Africa at Manchester.
The Leeds Lads
If England are to wrap up the deal at Headingley, the local boys Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will have to step up with the bat. Root has slammed 2 centuries and as many fifties in 6 innings at Leeds. On the other hand, Bairstow has scored one half-century and three 30s in 5 innings at the venue.
It was Dwaine Pretorius’ four-wicket haul that wrecked England’s batting at Manchester. His steady line and length, coupled with movement, made life tough for the hosts. He is also a capable batter down the order and can use the long handle to good effect.
Tabraiz Shamsi has taken 4 wickets in the first two matches. Given his style of bowling, expect the English batters to come hard at him and that is what will keep him in the hunt. His battle against Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler will be interesting.
Quinton de Kock might have failed on this tour with scores of 5 and 19, but he still averages an impressive 54, including 2 hundreds and 3 fifties in his last 10 ODI innings. His gutsy approach with the bat, coupled with the neat glovework, will keep fantasy players interested.
Talking about rewarding fantasy players, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone’s dual ability can make a huge difference. While Moeen has managed only 9 runs with the willow, he has taken 3 wickets in the first two games. Meanwhile, Livingstone has 48 runs to his credit along with 2 wickets.
An appalling batting performance by South Africa at Manchester has meant that England will have all the momentum going ahead into the decider at Leeds. While the hosts are expected to keep playing an attacking brand of cricket, the tourists will need a collective effort as a unit to seal the deal at Leeds. Nonetheless, a mouthwatering clash awaits us.
Time: 24 July, 3.30 PM IST