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International Cricket - Cricket: England vs South Africa third ODI preview

For the second successive ODI series, England have managed to overturn a disappointing performance in the opener to set up a winner-takes-all finale with victory in the second.

South Africa were convincing victors in the first match of the ongoing ODI series, winning by 62 runs at the Riverside in Chester-le-Street, but the hosts fought back at Old Trafford on Friday, recording an emphatic 118-run win to level matters in a rain-affected contest reduced to 29 overs per side.

The scene is now set for an intriguing decider, this time at Headingley with the match set to get under way at 11:00, with England searching for their first series win under new white-ball captain Jos Buttler.

What:England v South Africa, third ODI
Where:Headingley, Leeds
When:11:00, Sunday 24th July 2022
How to watch:Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket
Odds:England 8/15, South Africa 6/4

Misfiring batters make England vulnerable

England are the current 50-over world champions and have home advantage so, unsurprisingly, go into the third and deciding match as favourites, particularly with the touring Proteas having lost their last ODI series to Bangladesh on home soil.

Buttler's men also won the second one-dayer in very convincing fashion, but they did so against India too in the previous series and were then beaten by five wickets when the series was on the line at Old Trafford.

The batting line-up is not demonstrating the same sort of form that carried them to World Cup glory, as well as making them the most fearsome side in the ODI game, and they look suspect against a Proteas side who have already racked up a total of 333 in this series.

England's 271 in response to that score is the highest they have managed since Buttler took over and that was a distinct second-best on the day, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

The bowlers once again dragged the hosts back into the series on Friday - as they did against India when defending 246 - as they dismissed South Africa for a paltry 83, but there would have been few thinking that England's total of 201 was a match-winning score at the halfway stage.

Yes, the Proteas will obviously have to improve at Headingley on Sunday, but their bowlers look to be in good nick and they offer a little more value to come out on top, particularly with England having lost their last three series deciders.

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Middle-order look better value

England's misfiring batting line-up makes their top batter selection something of a lottery and it may pay to look a little further down the betting.

There have been signs that the likes of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow have started to at least get in, while Joe Root top-scored for England in the Riverside defeat with 86.

However, that Root knock is the anomaly this summer and despite seemingly improved form from others, it was the middle-lower order who dug England out of a hole on Friday.

Liam Livingstone (12/1) made 38 while Sam Curran scored 35 and David Willey 21, as Matthew Mott's men's frontline batters seem to be continually paying for their aggression, with Bairstow the only one of the top six to pass 20.

That is not to say any one of those cannot come up with the goods on Sunday, but a bigger price, given the general form of most, would be more tempting, with Moeen Ali also an option at 11/1, particularly having moved up the order after Ben Stokes bowed out.

Van der Dussen looks worthy of support

From a South Africa viewpoint, a little like England, the second ODI capitulation throws something of a spanner in the betting works, but Rassie van der Dussen looks worth another go to top score for his side.

The 33-year-old was the key figure for the Proteas in the win up in Durham, making a fine 134 off just 117 balls to set up his side, while his risk-averse approach (he struck only 10 fours and no sixes at the Riverside) will offer England fewer opportunities to dismiss him.

The only centurion of the series so far is on offer at 4/1 to lead his side's run scorers on Sunday, behind Quinton de Kock, Janneman Malan and Reeza Hendricks - the last of whom has yet to play in the series so far.

Van Der Dussen has scored two hundreds and two further half-centuries in his last eight ODI innings and is worth taking another chance on.

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