No clear favourites in ODI series

England & SA switch their focus to the 50 over format as they head into a 5 match series.

Cricket pitch. Picture: Abed Ahmed/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - After an absorbing test match series, England and South Africa switch their focus to the 50 over format as they head into a 5 match series.

Both sides have had positive recent results, the Proteas beat New Zealand at home and India in their own backyard whilst the English overcame Pakistan.

The Proteas squad have had some injury setbacks with fast bowlers Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott (first two matches) out of the ODI series.

Marchant De Lange has been added to the squad with coach Russell Domingo emphasising the need to manage the workload of Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada after a gruelling test series.

All Rounder David Wiese has also been called up after Albie Morkel suffered an injury during domestic duty.

On the English front they are sweating over the fitness of batsman Jason Roy who has built an exciting opening partnership with Alex Hales.

The last times these two sides met in an ODI series in South Africa was in 2009, where England won the 5 match series 2-1.

Recent history favours the tourists as you would have to go back to 2005 for the last time the Proteas beat England in an ODI series.

However, the Proteas recent ODI form will give them confidence heading into the series.

Their batting especially has been excellent, having got over 400 runs once and 300 twice in their last eight matches.

After a disastrous World Cup in 2015, England have had a massive overhaul in terms of squad and approach in limited overs form of the game.

Eoin Morgan has taken over as captain and with him came a new aggressive brand of cricket which is in stark contrast to their bland World Cup showing.

The English have been rewarded for backing their younger more dynamic players in the 50 over game, and there is a sense around their camp they are on the right track and could achieve big things in the future.

A series win in South Africa will do much to affirm their thinking and they have got off on the right note after they dismantled South Africa 'A' in the recent tour match over the weekend.

Both sides are evenly matched with no clear favourites, Proteas all-rounder JP Duminy said that the first match would be key in determining who would be the favourites for the series.

Working in South Africa's favour is that they have two of the best ODI batsmen in the world in Hashim Amla and the mercurial AD de Villiers and they are on their home ground.

The English will buoyed by their tests series win and hope to carry that momentum although the squad is much different from the Test team, they will take confidence from their showing against SA 'A'.

The first match will be on Wednesday 3 February and the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.