South Africa have not given up on the hope of winning the ODI series against England and received a shot in the arm after their impressive win against England in the third ODI. South Africa, with the victory, have comeback in the five-match series to make it 1-2. Hence, the fourth ODI at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday will give the home team another chance to take the series to a decider on Sunday.
South Africa, who were outplayed in the Test series and the first two ODIs, played some outstanding cricket to help the home team emerge victorious in the third ODI. England must have been pretty confident of a series win after their batsmen compiled 318 runs in 50 overs in the third ODI.
However, South African openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla batted wonderfully to dampen England's hopes of a series win. Kock and Amla, who scored 135 and 127 runs respectively, were involved in a partnership of 239 runs for the first wicket, which paved way for an easy win.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers later explained about the importance of such good start in a game. "If you get good solid starts, it's easier for the batting line-up to understand the rhythm of the game and get your pace right. It just frees the middle order up a lot," ESPN cricinfo quoted de Villiers as saying.
While chasing such a huge total, one would have thought the captain would play an important role and score the major chunk of the runs, but he was not even required to open his account as he only played five balls before Faf du Plessis hit the winning runs. These are positive signs for the home team.
Things are looking ominous for South Africa especially with Kock in amazing form. The left-hander has scored 295 runs in the three matches so far and has thrashed English bowlers, who need to improve in the fourth ODI, all around the park in the series.
Talking about batting performances, England batsmen have also been impressive in the series with Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jos Buttler scoring 221, 215 and 153 runs respectively. Such consistent performances of the English batsmen have put them in good stead and they are just a win away from clinching the five match series.
Captain Eion Morgan is impressed with the way Root has been batting in the series.
"Our batting unit seemed to grow every game that they play and that's hugely encouraging. We haven't had any hiccups yet," Morgan said. "Joe Root showed his class, scoring another hundred, and his experience now is that of a leader within the group and that's great to see."
England are sure to treat this fourth ODI in Centurion as a do-or-die match, and failure to defeat South Africa in the fourth ODI could prove to be disastrous and the home team can have a huge advantage in the series going into the final one-dayer.
Where to watch live
South Africa vs England 4th ODI is scheduled for 1:30 local time (5pm IST, 11:30am GMT) start with Live TV coverage in India on Ten Cricket while all the South Africa vs England 3rd ODI action can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports live.
Viewers in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa can watch the South Africa vs England 4th ODI live on SuperSport; live streaming on SuperSport Live Video.
Viewers in the US can watch the match live on Willow TV, with live streaming on Willow TV Online.