South Africa demands the surgical evisceration of Zimbabwe’s Chevrons
The Proteas may be without several stars heading into the ODI series against Zimbabwe but will still be expected to put their neighbours away with ease.
The World Cup looms large on the horizon for the Proteas who will be aiming to unleash a positive brand of cricket on Zimbabwe. Unless the tourists play out of their skins and far above their recent form, the benchmark for the Proteas will be complete domination.
South Africa appear to be very close to determining which bowlers will head to the World Cup and in this department they should possess far too much fire for Zimbabwe to withstand.
Dale Steyn returns to ODI cricket and will act as mentor to young quicks like Lungi Ngidi and Wiaan Mulder. Even with Steyn back the Proteas will look to Kagiso Rabada to lead with the ball in hand.
Zimbabwe meanwhile have lost their own fast bowling prodigy Blessing Muzarabani to a Kolpak deal with Northants. Muzarabani was comfortably the fastest of the Zimbabwe quicks who will now look to veteran swing bowler Kyle Jarvis to take the attack to the Proteas batsmen.
There is an unfamiliar look to the batting unit that the Proteas have presented with only JP Duminy and Aiden Markram able to claim to be ODI regulars. Ottis Gibson described Dean Elgar as a like-for-like replacement for Hashim Amla. Elgar will look to establish a platform but he will have to show intent from the outset to fit into the World Cup gameplan.
Christiaan Jonker comes in as a designated finisher with David Miller rested for this series. Jonker impressed in his maiden T20I series against India earlier this year and Gibson wants to see if he can translate those successes to ODI cricket.
Reeza Hendricks is likely to occupy the number three slot when the ODI series gets underway in his hometown of Kimberley on Sunday. Hendricks scored the fastest ever debut ton in ODI cricket in Sri Lanka earlier this season an innings that will also serve as a blueprint for what is expected of him in the middle-order.
Gihahn Cloete has been rewarded for a superb One-Day Cup season in 2017/18 with a call up but it is unclear where the wicketkeeper batsman will slot in.
The return of Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine gives the top-order a much more stable look but Zimbabwe will need Solomon Mire to be at his best if they are to get the kind of runs on the board that would put pressure on the Proteas.
The gulf in class between the teams means that the Proteas will be judged on how ruthless they are in punishing Zimbabwe’s mistakes as well as any minute errors they may make themselves.
South Africa have to beat Zimbabwe well to show they are on track to be competitive against the world’s elite in England and Wales next year.
South Africa v Zimbabwe ODI series fixtures:
September 30| 10h00, 1st ODI, Diamond Oval, Kimberley (Day)
October 3| 13h00, 2nd ODI, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein (D/N)
October 6 | 13h00, 3rd ODI, Boland Park, Paarl (D/N)
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