Our Pick South Africa are favourites to win
Leading into the five-match one-day international series against Australia, South Africa are set to play a one-off ODI against Ireland on September 25 at the Willowmoore Park, Benoni. The match is scheduled to begin at 10 AM local time. South Africa's last piece of ODI action was seen in the tri-series in the caribbean that featured Australia and the West Indies. Ireland's previous ODI was washed out against Pakistan who had beaten them by 255 runs in the match before. Ireland are also scheduled to play a solitary ODI against Australia at this same venue a couple of days after this match.
Read on for our betting tips and match prediction for South Africa vs Ireland only ODI...
205, 399, 295, 295 and 252 are the first-innings scores of the previous five ODIs played at the Willowmoore Park. Close to 300 have been achieved twice in these matches and nearly 400 has been scored in the match before the last. The wicket, that is normally better for pace bowling, is good for batting overall. South Africa's 253 was very easily chased down by Sri Lanka in 2002, and so 290-300 should be a good first-innings total.
Four of these last five games have been won by the side batting first. So the team that wins the toss may want to put up runs on the board first.
Ireland, to have a shot at victory, will need to score at least 300 if they bat first or restrict South Africa to below 250 if they get to bowl first. Else, it should pretty much be a one-sided affair.
Predicted Score: Around 350
Skipper AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis are going to be the pillars of the South African batting lineup. The hosts should reach the predicted score if these three get going. de Kock scored 326 runs at an average of 81.50 in the home ODI series against England earlier this year. de Villiers too got good runs in this series and he is also the leading run-scorer at this ground. With 309 runs from four innings, he averages 154.50 here and could very well top-score against Ireland.
Ireland will depend mostly on Barry McCarthy and Kevin O'Brien with the ball to keep the Proteas under a chaseable total. Both these seamers took ten wickets each to become the leading wicket-takers in this year's Afghanistan ODI series. McCarthy also claimed a four-for in Ireland's last ODI against Pakistan and he is more likely to be the top bowler for his side. If Ireland get rid of de Villiers and de Kock early in the innings, South Africa may not go past 300.
Predicted Score: Around 225
Ireland have received a big blow as they have lost their in-form batsman Ed Joyce to a knee injury. Sean Terry is set to replace the man, but we don't expect much from him against a formidable South African bowling attack as he struggled against a much weaker bowling attack of Afghanistan. So the onus will be on captain William Porterfield and Kevin O'Brien to take the team to a good score. Porterfield has a century at this ground and we expect him to top-score for Ireland.
South Africa could give uncapped pace bowler Andile Phehlukwayo a shot against Ireland on account of his strong performances for South Africa A. He took the most wickets in the recently played quadrangular series and a decent performance can be expected from him. However, it is Kagiso Rabada that could strike with early wickets and give the Irish batsmen a hard time at the crease. He was the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in the England ODI series and he stands a good chance of being the top bowler again on Sunday. Ireland could end up with a meager total if the South African bowlers remove Porterfield and O'Brien cheaply.
Ireland and South Africa have never faced off in a one-day international in South Africa before. The two teams have so far played just four ODIs against each other, one in Ireland and three at neutral venues. All of these matches have been won by South Africa.
South Africa have played ten completed ODIs this year of which they have won five and lost five. They played a 5-match ODI series against England at home in February and won the series 3-2 after being beaten in the first two games. The Proteas also have a near-to-immaculate ODI record at the Willowmoore Park, winning seven and losing just one of their eight matches here.
Ireland have not had a great year so far with just two wins from their seven ODIs, and both these wins came against Afghanistan. But when it came to tougher opponents like Sri Lanka and Pakistan, they suffered defeats by huge margins. Ireland do have a 100% win record at this ground, having beaten Scotland and Canada here back in 2009.
Although South Africa have rested some of their big players for this match, we still feel that it is going to be a very tough challenge for Ireland to face them in their conditions and therefore, we predict the hosts to win this one-off one-day international.
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