The three-match one-day series between South Africa and Ireland is a must-win for both teams as they attempt to break into the qualifying spots for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
Ireland v South Africa, 1st ODI
The Village, Dublin
11 July; 10:45am local time, 09:45 GMT
Ireland has played nine matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League and won only two, meaning they are 10th in the standings with 20 points. However, they're just 10 points away from breaking into the top eight – the automatic qualification slots – and will be hopeful of embarking on a run of wins in the series to strengthen their position.
South Africa are positioned at the bottom of the table, having won one of their three games so far in the series. Their tour of Ireland provides them an opportunity to grab 30 points, a return that will take them to the fifth spot in the standings.
South Africa have won all of their last five matches against Ireland, and coming in on the back of a successful tour of the Caribbean, they'll be primed to take maximium points.
Remember the last time
The two sides went head-to-head last in an ODI in 2016 for a one-off game in Benoni. Temba Bavuma, the current South Africa ODI captain, smashed 113 runs alongside Quinton de Kock’s 82 off 66 as the Proteas posted a daunting 354/5.
Ireland stuttered in their chase, and failed to get a partnership going. They were bowled out for 138 in the 31st over, with JP Duminy returning career-best figures of 4/16 to help South Africa win by 206 runs.
What they said
Rassie van der Dussen (South Africa player): "With the new competition structure, every game becomes important. Eoin Morgan [England captain] said there is no such thing as a dead rubber because you get points from every game, and that's the qualification [route] for the World Cup. The priority is to win matches and you've got to pick your strongest team."
Andy Balbirnie (Ireland Captain): "It gives us two chances to qualify for a World Cup. A lot of people on the outside will look at this and say there's only one team winning this series, and that's fair enough because it's a really impressive South Africa side. I don't have to keep harping on about how good a team they are – I think everyone knows there is a big gulf in the teams. But we do have match-winners in our team."
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