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South Africa vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, Preview: Dale Steyn in focus in the series opener

Full-strength Zimbabwe team will look to put up a fight.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn. (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South Africa and Zimbabwe will be locking horns in the first of the three-match ODI series as the home season commences for the team from the rainbow nation. They will be looking to build a team towards the World Cup next year. However, the start of the preparations have not been ideal for them with injuries to their key players. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will be beginning a new era after their World Cup plans have been shattered.

The visitors are back to full strength after their payment issues along with Zimbabwe Cricket were resolved recently which will make this series interesting. They are coming off a humiliating whitewash at the hands of Pakistan but it won’t have a bearing on them as many first-choice players missed that series. With nothing to lose, it will be interesting to see if the Men in Red will be able to surprise the home side.

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JP Duminy will lead his country for the first time in the 50-over format and will be hoping that the return of Dale Steyn makes it memorable for him. The ace fast bowler’s career has been filled with injury troubles recently and this series presents him a great opportunity to press his case for the World Cup. More than his performance, Steyn’s fitness will be in focus when he will walk out in the coloured jersey for his country for the first time in almost two years.

Team Combinations

South Africa

Dean Elgar will slot into the playing XI after replacing Hashim Amla in the squad. He will open with Aiden Markram after which the likes of Reeza Hendricks and Khaya Zondo will follow. JP Duminy will continue to bat at number five and has an ability to control the proceedings. Heinrich Klaasen will take up the wicketkeeping duties in the absence of Quinton de Kock.

The bowling attack looks sorted out with the presence of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada and a couple of all-rounders. Imran Tahir will be the only spinner in the playing XI as there won’t be much help for the tweakers in this game.

Probable XI: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, Khaya Zondo, JP Duminy (c), Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Andile Phehlukwayo, Willem Mulder, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir

Zimbabwe

The trio of  Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams should return without any doubt and the coach Lalchand Rajput will be keen on using the services of the experienced of Elton Chigumbura. Soloman Mire will be key at the top of the order along with the skipper Hamilton Masakadza after which the strong middle-order will take over. Kyle Jarvis also returns to the team after a troubled season filled with injury.

Probable XI: Hamilton Masakadza (c), Solomon Mire, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Peter Moor, Sean Williams, Ryan Murray (wk), Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Kyle Jarvis, Donald Tiripano

Focus will be on

Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Undoubtedly, Steyn will be closely watched by the selectors and the team management. The veteran has made it clear that he wants to play in the World Cup and he will have to earn his place back in the side. His comeback game has increased more interest in the game and surely the Steyn gun wouldn’t want to disappoint his fans. A scintillating bowling effort will just be a perfect start for him to complete his dream of playing in the mega event next year.

Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe has experienced what happens when their most talented is absent from the line-up. It goes without saying that he will have to play a big knock if Zimbabwe are to put any fight against the strong South African side. Taylor has done it before and one just cannot rule yet another three-figure score out. Only if he gets a support from the other end, we might see South Africa sweating for a victory in Kimberley.

Head to Head

Matches – 38 | South Africa Won – 35; Zimbabwe Won – 2 | N/R – 1

Stat Attack

1 – Zimbabwe has won only a solitary game against South Africa and that was 18 years ago in Durban.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony Six, Sony Six HD

Live streaming– Sony LIV

Match Timings – 13:30 IST, Local Time 10:30

Keep following CricTracker for more news and updates.

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