Amidst reports of them likely to receive Test status by 2019 alongside Afghanistan, Ireland are in need of participating in as many international matches as possible across the other two formats to get acquainted with the rigours of top-level cricket.
In that regard, each of the lone ODI’s against South Africa and Australia presents them with an opportunity to improve their limited-overs fortunes aside from gaining experience across different conditions.
Meanwhile, for the Proteas, the core of their regular squad will miss the match for various reasons. With the controversial quota system threatening to have a final say in the team composition, they might want to have adequate back-up options in all departments of the game.
Another significance relating to the contest is the introduction of the modified DRS ruling which would expand the hitting zone for LBW decisions.
Venue – Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Date – 25th September (Sunday)
Time – 1000 local/ 1330 IST
South Africa – LWLWL
Skipper AB de Villiers is set to miss this fixture after not recovering sufficiently from an elbow injury that had ruled him out of the Test series against New Zealand. Left-hander Rilee Rossouw has been added to the squad while Faf du Plessis takes up captaincy duties.
In the absence of various mainstays, the team management would look to blood in uncapped members such as Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phelukwayo.
Senior Irish batsman Ed Joyce will not be available for selection while pacer Boyd Rankin is not part of the squad. Fresh from a successful campaign with County champions Middlesex, Tim Murtagh may need a bit of time to recuperate.
However, the paucity of quality bowlers in their arsenal could force the think tank to thrust him into action straightaway.
Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Rilee Rossouw/Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris/Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phelukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Aaron Phangiso
Paul Stirling, Sean Terry, William Porterfield (c), Niall O'Brien (wk), Kevin O'Brien, Gary Wilson, Stuart Poynter, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, George Dockerell and Tim Murtagh/Peter Chase
One look at the Willowmoore Park’s ODI history suggests that the behavior of the pitch cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. Traditionally, medium pacers, as well as spinners, have enjoyed the sluggish conditions on offer at this venue.
With summer set to take over, another slow surface might bring spinners into play in what could be an attritional day of cricket.
- During the previous ODI at this stadium in 2013, Pakistan laboured to a pain-staking total of 205 before being dismissed in the 50th over. South Africa rode on AB de Villiers’ 111-ball 95 to cruise to a comfortable six-wicket victory.
- The top two wicket-takers at this venue belong to Canada. From 4 matches, Umar Bhatti has picked up 9 scalps while Henry Osinde has 8 from the same number of games.
- Not surprisingly, de Villiers' record at this ground is astonishing - 309 runs from 4 matches at an average of 154.50 with one century and three fifties.
- Ireland have clashed against South Africa four times in ODIs, however, are yet to defeat them.