“You could say it’s David and Goliath, but David beat Goliath and hopefully that can work for us.”
South Africa lie in last place on the league table but, along with Zimbabwe, have played the fewest number of games. That is set to change over the next few months. After these Ireland matches, South Africa are due to make up postponed fixtures against Sri Lanka later in the year and hope to have both India and England in the calendar, after matches have been pushed back. For them, Ireland is a chance to start climbing the points’ ladder and setting on combinations under a relatively new captain in Temba Bavuma.
Since taking over as white-ball captain in March, Bavuma has only led in one ODI series, against Pakistan, which came almost a year after South Africa last played the format, against Australia in March 2020. South Africa swept that series 3-0 and until their recent tour of the Caribbean, it was the format where they had enjoyed the most success under Mark Boucher and arguably, the format on which they are placing the most importance. Boucher and Bavuma have both been appointed until the 2023 World Cup.
Ireland LWLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa LWLWW
In the spotlight
Ireland was set to bring back William Porterfield at the top of the order for his experience, but the veteran opener has injured a finger on match eve. That prompted the selectors to bring Jeremy Lawlor into the squad, and he could slot straight into the XI too, to open with Paul Stirling. Conditions may demand an extra seamer but offspinning allrounders Simi Singh and Andy McBrine have been successful throughout the year bowling in the middle overs, meaning Mark Adair may start the series on the bench. Campher is expected to replace George Dockrell as the batting allrounder in the middle order.
Ireland: (possible) 1 Paul Stirling, 2 Jeremy Lawlor, 3 Andy Balbirnie (capt), 4 Harry Tector, 5 Curtis Campher, 6 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 7 Simi Singh, 8 Andy McBrine, 9 Barry McCarthy, 10 Josh Little, 11 Craig Young
The XI that last won an ODI for South Africa are all in the squad and if they play, that will mean a first appearance for Andile Phehlukwayo on this tour. He did not feature in the T20Is in the Caribbean as South Africa dispensed with the seam-bowling allrounder in favour of a spin-bowling one, but are likely to return to more pace-friendly conditions. South Africa may also want to start strongly by returning to their first-choice pack back in action after Anrich Nortje missed the final T20I in Grenada as a precaution after being hit on the knee.
South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Temba Bavuma (capt), 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 David Miller, 6 Heinrich Klaasen, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Anrich Nortje, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
“The ODIs are hugely important, more so maybe than the T20Is because of what the points carry, as opposed to the T20Is. But all games you play for Ireland are important but certainly a lot of our focus for the last two or three weeks – albeit we’ve had those festivals – has been on one-day cricket and how we can get the best out of these three games and the three following. The T20s are a good chance to express ourselves and go out all guns blazing against them, and try to produce results.”
Ireland are placing more emphasis on the ODIs than the T20s, given the pathway to the 2023 World Cup, according to captain Andrew Balbirnie.
“There are similarities. The style, the philosophy and the thinking is generally quite the same. We would like to continue that same type language and feel throughout both formats. We are quite fortunate that we have a majority of guys that play fifty-over as well as T20 so when you talk about a culture, it becomes easier to allow that to flow. It allows us to speak the same type of language through the different formats.”
Temba Bavuma hopes for continuity in the white-ball formats for South Africa.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent