Live on Skysports 1: Sun 03.30 & 12.00: England are set to struggle against the South African batting on Sunday in the World Cup.
Embarrassment must have ran high through the England camp following a bowling and fielding capitulation which saw Ireland overturn a hugely unfavourable situation and pushed England’s tournament odds way out to 12/1 (Boylesports).
Strauss must now guide his men to a victory over South Africa, a 17/10 chance with Sportingbet, to return some pride and morale and more importantly, to keep the quarter final push alive.
The biggest problem that faces England in this match is the poor form of many of Strauss’ bowlers coming up against the dangerous looking AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, 4/1 and 3/1 (both Coral) to top score for SA.
That pairing put on 221 runs for the 3rd wicket against the Netherlands and are very important for a South African victory, something rate at 4/7.
James Anderson’s bowling has been catastrophic of late and Stuart Broad was not much better after a one-match rest. Michael Yardy proved he is ineffective with the ball and only Graeme Swann came out of the Ireland match with a shred of credibility, taking 3 wickets. Swann is the only realistic shout for top England wicket taker at 5/2 (Ladbrokes) but even then it could be a market best left.
As for the bat, Pietersen, Strauss, Trott and Bell have all added runs in decent amounts and England have actually scored 957 runs in 3 games; the highest in the tournament. It is an area they will need to excel in (including the tail) to stand a chance here and Jon Trott can be the man to top score at 4/1 (bet365).
As for the Proteas, Jacques Kallis has failed with the bat and can be backed at 4/1 (Betfred) to come good and top score but preference goes to the accomplished AB de Villiers at 4/1 with Stan James. Imran Tahir can follow up his consistently good work with the ball and take the most wickets (3/1, William Hill).
South Africa should take a high scoring game and capitalise on what must surely be dented English confidence.
In the day’s later game, Ireland attempt to make it two massive wins from two as they take on India as 20/1 outsiders (Betdaq).
There isn’t a realistic case to make for Ireland. They were excellent against England, granted, but then so were the Netherlands. Kevin O’Brien hit an innings of a life time and is the obvious choice for top knock, a large looking 5/1 at Ladbrokes, but perhaps you could look to his much overshadowed but excellent partner Alex Cusack. His 47 from 80 was accomplished and allowed O’Brien to flourish and 9/1 about him (bet365) is enormous.
Little Master, Tendulkar, could have a fine day, he is 5/2 (888sport) for the most runs.