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Teams eye series win in Cape Town - Fifth ODI preview

Teams eye series win in Cape Town - Fifth ODI preview
England's fortune will once again depend on the ever consistent Joe Root.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Fifth One-Day International - South Africa v England in Cape Town
14th February | 10:00 local | 08:00 GMT

South Africa have a largely undeserved reputation for choking in close games when the pressure rises. It started with the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup against Australia and has haunted them in other World Cups since.

But against those on the ledger are countless others where South Africa have won games in tight situations.

Another one can be added to that list after Chris Morris' brilliant half-century took AB de Villiers' side from certain defeat to a series-levelling victory in Johannesburg.

A grand final in Cape Town on Sunday now awaits.

England will be disappointed to find themselves all square after winning the first two games of the series comfortably. Their bowling and fielding has let them down since the games in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth and the home side have improved also.

With the World T20 coming up, a high pressure final game is not the worst preparation for a tournament where the stakes and the intensity will be ratcheted high. You can bet Eoin Morgan's men will not find any consolation in that though and would prefer to have won the series already.

In England's last two five-match series, against New Zealand and Australia last summer, both were level at 2-2 going in to the last game so England have been here before.

They beat New Zealand to take that series but were thumped by Australia at Old Trafford to lose the second.

South Africa should be stronger in Cape Town for the return of Morne Morkel, who was rested for the game at the Wanderers. After Morris' exploits with the bat, it is likely that Morkel will replace David Wiese.

England brought in Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes in Johannesburg and Woakes was the pick of the bowlers on show for the visitors. It is likely England will keep the same side for the decider.

Although Morgan's side bowled poorly during Morris' onslaught, offering up full tosses and half volleys, it is arguably their fielding that needs sharpening.

Adil Rashid dropped Morris when he was on 14 but Alex Hales and Jason Roy also spilled chances. For a generally good fielding side, England have been average this series, interspersing some excellence, such as Woakes' run out of de Villiers, with some poor stuff.

No doubt coach Trevor Bayliss, who places great store by good fielding, will not be best pleased.

Joe Root's second successive hundred underlined not only his class, but his value to the England side. Whilst Morgan's men have been praised for their big hitting exploits over the past year, players such as Jos Buttler, Roy and Ben Stokes only know one way. Root's ability to bat long and adapt, as he had to on Friday at the Wanderers, is key.

South Africa's batting looks in far finer fettle than it did earlier in the series. De Villiers in particular looked in stunning touch in Johannesburg before Woakes ran him out. With Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla having good series they have players in form.

The only potential change is that JP Duminy, who has had an average series, could be left out for Rillee Roussouw or David Miller.

Momentum is an often used term in cricket but in reality it is meaningless. Confidence is quite another matter and after two excellent victories South Africa will have it in spades. They are peaking when it matters.

Newlands is one of the most picturesque grounds in world cricket, with Table Mountain providing a brooding backdrop to what should be a serious encounter.

It has happy memories for both Stokes and South Africa's Hashim Amla who took advantage of a belting pitch to score double hundreds here during the Test series.

South Africa's recent record here is impressive, having won 10 consecutive ODIs at the ground between 2004 and 2011. They have lost the last two though, one each to India and Pakistan.

England's last one-day game here in 2009 ended in a defeat by 112 runs with de Villiers scoring a hundred. They have only ever won one game at Newlands and that was against Pakistan in a World Cup game in 2003.

The pitch is expected to be good and true, much as it was in the Test match. The last two games have not been the run feasts of the first two but Cape Town should be different. It may not be a good game to be a bowler.

What may give the bowlers some assistance however is the overhead conditions. There is rain and cloud forecast which should mean the ball may do a bit.

It also means Duckworth-Lewis may come in to play, which would be an unfortunate way to end what has been a terrific series.

For both sides, it is a one-off game. Victory will be achieved by the side who can handle the pressure; it was England, rather than South Africa, who choked in Johannesburg but Morgan's side have shown in the past they can bounce back quickly.

A decider, then. In Cape Town. Winner takes all.


How can you predict this game? Both sides have match winners and players in form so it's impossible. You're asking me to get off the fence though so I will: England for me. For no other reason than I want them to win!

Possible Teams:

South Africa: 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Quinton de Kock (wk), 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. AB de Villiers (captain), 5. JP Duminy, 6. Farhaan Behardien, 7. Chris Morris, 8. Kagiso Rabada, 9. Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir

England: 1. Jason Roy, 2. Alex Hales, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan (captain), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. Moeen Ali, 8. Chris Woakes, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. Reece Topley

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