Recommended Bet: Back Anrich Nortje to be South Africa Top Bowler @ 4.3 with Blue Chip.
South Africa are just 1.06 to win here which is the shortest price we’ve seen on any team so far this tournament.
If that’s your sort of price, go ahead and back them as they really should win.
Zimbabwe’s best hope would be to bowl extremely well, reduce SA to about 150 and then just hope that Sakindar Raza or Craig Ervine can play the innings of their life.
Not impossible but highly unlikely.
But it may be too much of an ask and it’s also the case that the odds in Live Betting on SA won’t change too much even if they’re in a bit of trouble. So that’s not really a good strategy, either.
Instead, it might be worth going with Anrich Notje to be SA’s top bowler. The key here is pace.
He’s by far SA’s fastest bowler and that more than anything else is what’s likely to seriously bother Zimbabwe’s batsmen.
He hasn’t admittedly been at his absolute best these last few months but we know what he can do on his day, he’ll definitely bowl his four overs and may just find Zimbabwe’s batters can’t deal with his speed and aggression.
At odds of 4.3, this is probably the stand-out bet in the match.
The Proteas were many people’s idea of a good dark horse in the build-up to the tournament.
As discussed in our South Africa team guide, they’re strong in the fast bowling department, always field well and have in the likes of Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock and David Miller some of the most reliable batsmen in this format.
The problem they have, and have had for the last year, is that skipper Temba Bavuma shouldn’t be in the team as a batsman.
He’s depriving the impressive Reeza Hendricks of forming a formidable opening partnership with de Kock.
It will be fascinating to see if they make the tough call of dropping Bavuma as skipper with Keshav Maharaj taking over or whether they’ll stick with Bavuma.
If they drop Bavuma, it will help their cause and give them a real chance of going all the way.
Back in August they beat Ireland 2-0 in a two-match Series, which was then followed by a 2-1 Series loss in India, which as we know, is one of the toughest places to go to try and win.
But before that they went and beat England in England and showed good fight in the process given they had been 1-0 down.
So they’ve had a decent year but don’t have a particularly good record in this tournament.
Even though it’s early to already start thinking about net run rate, they’d be advised to do so.
Things could get really tight in this group, which also features India and Pakistan, so not only will they want to win but they’ll want to do so comfortably and get their net run rate up.
Zimbabwe did really well to get out of a tough qualifying group to make it this far.
They started off by beating Ireland convincingly, then lost to the West Indies but came back to beat Scotland under the utmost pressure.
In that match they bowled extremely well to restrict the Scots to just 132/6 and in the end chased that total pretty comfortably, getting home with nine balls to spare.
They’ve been extremely good this last year or so with wins against the likes of Bangladesh.
In fact, it’s easy to argue this is probably the best side they’ve had in 15 years or so.
Star of the show is Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza.
He’s a very capable bowler who has already taken five wickets with his off spin and is extremely hard to get away, always bowling nice and straight and bringing bowled and LBW into the equation.
But it’s his batting that has been truly outstanding of late.
So far he’s scored 82, 14 and 40 and is currently the top batsman for the whole tournament, although of course he’s played more matches than most of the other sides.
He also picked up two man-of-the-match awards in those three games last week so this is a serious player we’re talking about here.
Other players to look out for are fast bowlers Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani, while leg spinner Ryan Burl can be dangerous on his day with the ball, while also contributing quick runs down the order.
1 Craig Ervine (capt), 2 Regis Chakabva (wk), 3 Wessly Madhevere, 4 Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Milton Shumba, 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Richard Ngarava, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Blessing Muzarabani.
South Africa vs Zimbabwe Head-to-Head
These two have played each other five times in T20Is and the Proteas understandably won the lot.
But this is a considerably better side that Zimbabwe have now than they have in the last 10 years or so and this may be their best chance yet of getting that first-ever win against SA.
Venue & conditions
Hobart is a ground that Zimbabwe know well because this is where they played those three qualifying matches.
The average first innings scores during the matches played in Group B was 156.
But Zimbabwe won’t have faced the sort of bowling attacks in those games that they’re going to be up against here.
The pace of the likes of Anrich Nortje or Kagiso Rabada could prove too much for them and if they bat first, it may be worth betting on the first innings runs line that they’ll score less than 130.
But if it’s South Africa batting first, they could well go big, so if it’s them having first use of the pitch, over 175 first innings runs could be on.
There may be some light rain on the day but probably not enough to see us have a reduction in overs.