Zimbabwe turned in a poor performance in the curtain raiser to this tournament as they lost by the considerable margin of 82 runs to hosts Sri Lanka on Tuesday. It does not augur well for this game (3pm BST, Thursday, Sept 20).
Brendan Taylor’s side had issues with batting, bowling and fielding and unless they can somehow address those problems against South Africa, the squad will be heading home before most teams have started their campaigns.
Predictably, the bookmakers have installed South Africa as short-priced favourites ahead of this crucial contest. Just take a look at the best odds available for this match:
Chasing 182 to win that opening match, Zimbabwe crumbled to 100 all out from 17.3 overs and the top score was a mere 20 from Hamilton Masakadza. Captain Brendan Taylor was out first ball and has been in poor form since the start of the Sri Lankan Premier League last month. Along with Masakadza, Taylor is the best batsman in the side but will have to find some form if his side are to stand any chance of causing an upset.
In truth, a target of 182 never really looked to be within the Zimbabwean’s reach after a weak display in the field. Brian Vitori and Chris Mpofu were particularly expensive but they weren’t exactly helped by dropped catches and poor fielding overall.
The one piece of good news for Zimbabwe is that they won’t have to face Ajantha Mendis in this game. The Sri Lankan took record figures of 6/8 from his four overs and while Johan Botha is a competent spinner for South Africa, there is no mystery to his game.
The South Africans arrived here after two strong limited overs series in England. AB De Villiers’ men may have drawn both the 50 over and T20 formats but they played the better cricket throughout while England were helped on two occasions by rain and Duckworth Lewis.
Hashim Amla continued his prolific English summer by top scoring in every possible game and he will obviously be the one to watch in this contest. There is some hope for Zimbabwe here however, and if they get Amla early, there is a suggestion that the remainder of the side are relying too heavily on his runs without taking enough responsibility themselves.
The main threat to the Zimbabwean batsmen is likely to come from pace as opposed to spin and the twin attack of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel could cause damage at the top of the order. The back-up bowlers may lack that kind of penetration but Robin Peterson, JP Duminy and Botha himself will take pace off the ball and will be difficult for the opposition to get away.
South Africa v Zimbabwe Betting Tips Conclusion
The rain that has persisted in Sri Lanka for the last few weeks seems to be staying away and in a game that lasts the full 40 overs, it seems unlikely that Zimbabwe can improve enough to win this match and avoid an early exit.
In yet another unequal affair, it is hard to advise taking the best 1/9 odds (BetVictor) about South Africa winning. However they do look as dominant as the betting suggests and should cast aside Zimbabwe.