South Africa and Ireland hunting precious points in historic ODI series

By Sports Desk July 10, 2021

South Africa and Ireland will be hunting crucial ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points in a historic three-match ODI series.

The Proteas travelled to Dublin for a first white-ball tour of Ireland at the bottom of the table targeting a whitewash.

Temba Bavuma's side can move into fifth spot - which would secure automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup in India - if they pull off a clean sweep.

Ireland are in 10th place with only two wins from nine matches and they face a big challenge, with South Africa on a high from beating West Indies 3-2 in a Twenty20 International series in the Caribbean.

South Africa have won all five matches versus Ireland in the 50-over format and will be strong favourites to maintain that perfect record in a series that stars in Malahide on Sunday.

The Proteas went down 2-1 in their last ODI series at home to Pakistan despite the best efforts of Rassie van der Dussen, who scored a hundred and a half-century in his two knocks.

Paceman Anrich Nortje took seven wickets in two matches but Pakistan came out on top.

Sisanda Magala missed the tour, which will also see South Africa and Ireland play three T20s, due to an ankle injury.  

Ireland welcome back South Africa-born all-rounder Curtis Campher from injury, providing a boost following Kevin O'Brien's recent retirement from ODI cricket. 

 

BAVUMA EAGER TO BUILD MOMENTUM

Bavuma knows securing maximum points is the most important thing in Ireland but the Proteas captain wants to see his side show how they intend to go about their business in the coming years.

"The first part is to start racking up points for qualification for the World Cup," said Bavuma. "We also want to start getting to terms with how we want to go about playing our cricket.

"I think we've done that fairly well in the West Indies Twenty20 series and we want to transfer that to our one-day cricket."

 

BALBIRNIE AWARE OF GULF IN CLASS

Ireland were beaten 2-1 by the Netherlands in their last ODI series and captain Andy Balbirnie knows getting the better of the Proteas will be a tall order.

He said: "A lot of people on the outside will look at this and say there's only one team winning this series, and that's fair enough because it's a really impressive South Africa side.

"I don't have to keep harping on about how good a team they are – I think everyone knows there is a big gulf in the teams. But we do have match-winners in our team."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

-  Ireland have lost 11 of their 14 ODIs (W3) since the beginning of 2020, the most defeats any country has suffered in the format in that time.
- Quinton de Kock has 177 dismissals in ODIs (168 catches, 9 stumpings) – the second-most by any player in the format since the wicketkeeper-batsman made his debut in January 2013 behind England's Jos Buttler (213).
- Paul Stirling has scored four ODI hundreds since the start of last year, the most by any player in that time: Only India's KL Rahul (62) averages more in the format during this period than Stirling's 60.4 (min. 10 innings).
- Ireland have hit a boundary every 13.2 balls in ODIs since the beginning of 2018, the least frequent of any Test-playing country in that time.

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