The Proteas must play their best side in the third ODI to lift their spirits for the Champions Trophy.
Winning the third ODI is of utmost importance, as it will give the players confidence. It will tell us that we are still competitive, we are still in the game and that we have a good side to compete for the Champions Trophy in June.
It was a disappointing second ODI, but the boys played well and there were a lot of positives to take out of the match. The biggest problem was that our bowling attack looked very ordinary. It’s okay to test different combinations in these three games before the tournament, but by the time the group stages begin, we need to field our best lineup.
England used their tall pacemen well, and it was surprising to see so many guys get hit on the head, with the pace and bounce causing trouble for our batsmen. This emphasised that Morne Morkel definitely needs to come back into the starting lineup.
Russell Domingo knows Morkel’s quality, and it seemed as if he refrained from using him because he hasn’t played as many games as the other seamers in recent times, but he suits the English conditions perfectly and we need to get him ready for the first Champions Trophy game on 3 June.
Dwaine Pretorius or Andile Phehlukwayo need to give way for Morkel because they don’t have the extra pace he possesses.
Imran Tahir has to start. He’s the No 1 ODI bowler and one of the most dangerous wicket-takers in our side. Keshav Maharaj did well, but generally, left-arm spinners don’t fair well against left-handed batsmen and England has left-handers at four, five and seven, which caused a problem for Maharaj as he struggled to get the ball spinning away from the bat.
The least mistakes win the game, and we were sloppy in the field, conceded unnecessary runs, and if we don’t change this aspect we are going to continue having to chase over 300.
When chasing targets we need to keep up with the scoring rates at all times and not let the game lag like we have done in the last two games. In tight matches, it’s essential to pick up the intensity throughout the match and not wait for the last 8-10 overs. We should never put ourselves in the situation where we end up losing games with four or five wickets in hand. Our players should rather risk it all and get bowled out, knowing they had a full go at chasing the target.
Despite Duminy’s usual inconsistency, he needs to be back in the side in place of Farhaan Behardien, because he gives an extra spin option and can do a job for us at No 5. With this lineup, I feel we will have a balanced side with youth and experience and will be ready for the Champions Trophy.