The head-to-head record between South Africa and the Netherlands in ODI cricket speaks volumes of the contrasting fortunes the two countries have experienced so far. The word “dominant” would be an understatement to describe the Proteas’ 50-over form against the Netherlands, who have lost their four encounters by 83 runs, 231 runs, 221 runs and 160 runs.
But entering the upcoming three-match ODI series, it isn’t as easy to label South Africa the favorites as it usually is. They are on the back of a decent T20 World Cup 2021 campaign where they finished third in Group 1 to miss out on a knockout spot due to net run rate, but many of their first-choice players will sit this one out.
Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma are all notable absentees from the squad, which will be led by Keshav Maharaj. Even Lungi Ngidi, who was supposed to lead the pace attack, has been replaced by Junior Dala.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands will look to overcome their T20 World Cup disappointment, where they failed to qualify for the Super 12 stage after losing all three of their first-round matches. Ryan ten Doeschate has retired from international cricket and will now be part of the support staff, and things aren’t looking too good for the Dutchmen.
The announcement of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League being scrapped has hit Associate nations hard, and they won’t have too many high-profile series against the Test-playing nations in the future. So the Netherlands must make the most of what they have, and what they have in front of them right now is a great opportunity to take advantage of a depleted South African side. The first ODI will be played on Friday, November 26 in Centurion.
South Africa vs Netherlands 1st ODI: Can Seelaar & Co. go one step further than Ireland?
South Africa are without a win in their last three ODI series, with 2-1 losses to Pakistan and Sri Lanka on either side of an interesting assignment in Ireland. After the first ODI against the Irishmen was washed out, the hosts took a promising lead by clinching the second encounter. Although the Proteas recovered in the third ODI to level the series, the faults in their system were outlined for the Netherlands to take inspiration from and take advantage of.
Janneman Malan has made an extraordinary start to his international career, but he doesn’t have too much reliable support in the batting order. Reeza Hendricks and David Miller are the only other batters with a decent amount of international experience, with a slew of all-rounders making up the rest of the middle order.
South Africa’s pace department is quite potent even without Rabada, Nortje and Ngidi, though. With Maharaj and the in-form Tabraiz Shamsi beefing up the spin riches, the Proteas have all bases covered against a Netherlands side that will be heavily dependent on Max O’Dowd to lead from the top.
Can experienced players like Roelof van der Merwe (who knows a thing or two about South Africa), Colin Ackermann and Stephan Myburgh overcome their recent indifferent run to make an impact against the Proteas? The Netherlands are a capable side and can rattle South Africa’s batting lineup, but their batters are likely to be slightly out of their depth.
With Maharaj’s men having home advantage and presumably being higher on morale despite the myriad of off-field issues currently hounding South African cricket, they can be backed to get off to a winning start in Centurion.
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Prediction: South Africa to win the 1st ODI against the Netherlands