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South Africa up against rampaging England

Host has a second chance to get that much-desired win with bowlers set to have another rough time in Port Elizabeth

South Africa up against rampaging England  - Cricket News
The rain and a rampaging Jos Buttler combined to thwart South Africa's attempts to return to winning ways in the 50-over format in Bloemfontein after its Test disappointment.

“We were exactly on target; spot on with our run rate. It would have been a nice finish,” rued AB de Villiers after South Africa found itself stranded on 250 for 5 in 33.3 overs on Wednesday, 39 runs short of the Duckworth/Lewis target.

That South Afirca, driven by Quinton de Kock's blazing, unbeaten 96-ball 138, believed itself on course to overhaul England's 399 for 9 shows just how hungry the side is to get that much desired win.   

It will have its next chance on Saturday (February 6), when the teams face off in Port Elizabeth for the second of five One-Day Internationals.

De Kock, for one, wants to stick around to see the game through next time. “I haven't scored a hundred like that in a while so it was nice to stay in. Unfortunately because of the rain, I couldn't carry the team, but I'm sure there will be many more opportunities to do that,” he said after the first game.

England, meanwhile, goes into the game confident in its batting. Not only did its top and middle order click in tandem, but, continuing its recent aggressive approach, five of their top seven had a strike rate of over 120. The score it managed was its second-highest total in ODIs.

Leading the way was Buttler, who smashed 11 fours and five sixes in his 76-ball 105, making the most of his promotion to No. 4. It was, incredibly, the slowest of his four ODI hundreds.

“I love trying to score my runs as fast as I can and anytime you score a hundred for England, it's so special – what a feeling to do it in the first game of the series and that should really set me up for the rest of the series too,” he said, in what should come as a warning to the host. “[I hope to] start again in the next game, but obviously with the confidence coming off the back of this innings.”

The team itself, said Buttler, was high on confidence. “It sends a great message to everyone in our team as well as the opposition – we're capable of these sorts of totals,” he said. “In the warm-up game we got 360-odd as well; we know we're very capable of getting these scores.”

The bowlers from both sides would have to pick themselves up, pack bruised egos away and put the shellacking behind them. For South Africa, Chris Morris went for 74 runs off his ten over, but was impressive in picking up three wickets. With the form the batsmen are in, the bowlers could again be in for a testing time.

The contest will next move to Centurion on February 9, before the final two games in Johannesburg (February 12) and Cape Town (February 14).

Team (from)

South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, David Wiese.

England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

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