It was always likely to be difficult to make those first steps back into the one-day arena for Eoin Morgan’s men after they reached the pinnacle last summer with the ICC World Cup win.
The ODI series in South Africa was England’s first since ‘that day’ at Lord’s in July and while there was some blistering cricket played, Chris Silverwood’s side did not quite make it back to full throttle.
England mixed things up as they looked to ramp up their preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia this Autumn.
A number of last summer’s heroes were rested and in their place, they opted for some new faces and a few (relatively) forgotten men.
In all honesty, after the three-match series, the 1-1 scoreline seems fair, though you feel the Three Lions would have edged it had the second ODI not been a washout.
As often seems to be the case in overseas series, England slipped to defeat in the first match but bounced back impressively–leaving the stage perfectly set for the upcoming IT20 clashes.
A (somewhat) new foe
First things first, it is important to give credit where credit is due and praise what was a new-look South African side in many ways.
Led by new ODI captain Quinton De Kock, the Proteas gambled somewhat on players that are relatively new to the international stage and it paid off–with players like JJ Smuts, Beuran Hendricks, and Lutho Simpala impressing.
South Africa remain in transition but there are some very encouraging signs moving forward.
Missed our piece on the 3 England that will be looking to impress in the T20 series? Check it out here.
Though England did mix things up a little in their selection, it was some of the old faces that impressed most for them.
It was a joyful sight to see spin twins Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali back together in the third and final ODI, and their combined four wickets proved vital.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow continued to show why they’re surely the most featured opening partnership in the world, while in the middle order Joe Denly and Joe Root showed their class.
Chris Jordan, returning to the one-day arena for the first time since 2016, showed his death bowling quality throughout–hinting at the plethora of options available to England ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Wait and see time
We discussed previously that this series looked set up for Tom Banton’s emergence and though he didn’t make any huge scores, his scary quality and potential was clear in the 32 he made from 32 balls in the final match.
Similar can be said of the raw pace of Saqib Mahmood, while the Curran brothers proved once again how useful they are.
The one-day series has shown how impressive some of the options available to Morgan and Silverwood are but they will now want to wait and see to get a full assessment of what is available to them.
They will get their first idea of that in the upcoming T20 series. Bring on Wednesday.