South Africa vs Zimbabwe 1st ODI : Preview and Predicted Playing XI
South Africa will be looking to kick Start ODI series on a winning note when they face rejuvenated Zimbabwe in the opening fixture of 2018 series at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly on Sunday, September 30. Both teams have played 37 ODIs against each other with the South Africans comprehensively leading the scoreline 35-2.
While in their most recent clash during ICC CWC 2015 at Hamilton, after being put into bat first, The Proteas amassed 339/4 before dismissing Zimbabwe for 277 to win the match by 62 runs.
South Africa begin as overwhelming favourites to win this first one-day international of the three-match series. They have beaten Zimbabwe in their last 27 ODI meetings and even though some of the big names like Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock are missing from their side, they still are a lot superior in all aspects of the game. In the absence of regular skipper Faf du Plessis, who has been ruled out of the ODI series with a shoulder injury. The stand-in skipper JP Duminy will lead the side.
Batting: In the absence of their batting trio, South Africa's batting will depend solely on the likes of Aiden Markram, JP Duminy and Dean Elgar. Duminy scored the most 227 runs for his side in the last ODI series against Sri Lanka and he is going to be the key man for the Proteas.
While Markram and Elgar have been pretty impressive at the international level and the team will be hoping for a strong opening stand between them. Despite having an inexperienced lineup, the Proteas have enough firepower in their ranks to counter the Zimbabwean side.
Bowling: The Proteas have had a formidable bowling attack with Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn being their go to men. Steyn is the team's leading ODI wicket-taker from this squad with 180 wickets and the pacer is making a comeback after a long layoff and he will be eager to perform on the international stage. While Ngidi was their best bowler in the Sri Lanka ODI series with 10 wickets in 4 matches followed by Rabada with six wickets and will be expected to get some wickets upfront.
Expected Playing XI: JP Duminy (C), Reeza Hendricks, Khaya Zondo, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram.
For Zimbabwe, the return of Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine has given them a big boost ahead of South Africa tour. The trio had earlier made themselves unavailable for selection due to a prolonged pay dispute with the Zimbabwean cricket board but now are back after sorting things out.
Batting: While Zimbabwe received a big boost in their batting department with the return of their batting trio, they could be a little rusty from not having played at the international level for a while. Hamilton Masakadza and Peter Moor are the other big guns in this Zimbabwean batting line-up and will bear the responsibility to guide the team towards a big total.
Bowling: Elton Chigumbura has taken the most ODI wickets for Zimbabwe from this current squad and he is going to be their go-to men when it comes to bowling. While Tendai Chatara has 76 wickets in ODIs and the fast bowler will be looking to provide the early breakthroughs. The team will also bank on the likes of Wellington Masakadza, who has been pretty impressive in his short career with 18 wickets in 15 matches. He will be eager to make a mark against the South African side.
Expected Playing XI: Hamilton Masakadza (C), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano and Wellington Masakadza.