Tue, 28 Nov 2023

Kimberley [South Africa], February 2 (ANI): Despite earning career-best numbers in England's consolation ODI victory over South Africa, Jofra Archer insists he must be patient in his comeback from injury.

Archer collected his best ODI bowling figures of 6/40 in just his second international appearance back from long-term injury, while Jos Buttler smashed his 11th ODI century as England registered a 59-run victory over South Africa in Kimberley.

"Being back after however long, it's kind of surreal. You only get that feeling after you start playing. It's definitely gone up a few notches. I had the best time off. I had enough of it to know I don't miss home like I used to. I've done everything I needed to do in the last 18 months and I'm just ready to play cricket," Skysports.com quoted Archer as saying.

Archer, 27, was making only his second England appearance after missing 17 months due to major back and elbow ailments, and he was not chosen to open the bowling for the first time in his England career.

"It's just a long road, this is a small tick but I want to see how I am in April, June, July and September. This is just the start of the road," he added.

Archer only returned 1-81 in the series opener on Friday, but he looked more dangerous in the third and final ODI of the tour, consistently surpassing 90mph and certain he could have "bowled another 10th overs.

Coming to the match, Buttler's superb innings of 131 was well supported by Dawid Malan's 118 at the top of the order, with the duo combining to put on 232 for the fourth wicket after the hosts had reduced England to 3/14 in the sixth over.

While South Africa claimed the three-game series 2-1, the loss in the final match left them precariously placed as teams jostle for the eight automatic qualification spots for this year's 50-over World Cup that is scheduled to take place in India at the end of the year.

South Africa currently sits in ninth place on the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League standings with a total of 79 points and now have a nervous wait on their hands to see if they qualify automatically.

The upcoming series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka will be pivotal to the final standings, while the Proteas still have two further matches up their sleeve - against the Netherlands at home at the end of March - that could still revive their chances.

While the top eight teams on the Super League standings qualify directly for the 50-over World Cup, the remaining sides can still progress via the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier that is scheduled to be held in Zimbabwe in the middle of the year.

The five remaining teams plus five Associate teams will battle it out for the final two spots at the World Cup and the likes of South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka may have to take this route if they are not be able to sneak into the top eight places on the Super League standings. (ANI)

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