After the ODI series ended in a stalemate, South Africa is set to continue their England tour for a 3-match T20I series. The first T20 will be played at The County Ground, Bristol on July 27th from 6:30 pm onwards. This will be the second T20I series for England within the week. They lost the earlier series by 2-1 against India.
South Africa started the tour by winning the first ODI by 62 runs. Rassie Van der Dussen scored his career-best 134 runs. But England came back in the second game to crush the visitors by 118 runs. This ODI got abandoned after rain halted the play in the first innings. Quinton de Kock scored 92 off 76 balls. Looks like he has already dawned the skin of the T20I format.
The T20I series for England haven’t been fruitful for England since the start of the year. They have lost both series they played this year – one against West Indies (3-2), One against India (2-1). South Africa has had a completely different past since the start of the last year. They have a 70% plus winning rate in T20Is (11 out of 14). They haven’t been on the losing side in a series for almost a year and 3 months. Last time, these two teams met in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020. Batting first SA put a total of 189 for the loss of 2 wickets after Van der Dussen scored 94 off 60 balls. England lost the game by 10 runs.
For the starters, skipper Jos Buttler has already complained about England’s busy summer schedule. They have played 12 games in the last 36 days. And it has taken a toll on their performances. Except for the series against the Netherlands, England has failed to win a series in this period. And yet, England is going with almost the same squad. Jason Roy and Jos Buttler have a great record against SA. While Roy’s strike rate against SA is 147.16, Butler’s strike rate is 154 with an average of 34.66. Both had put up a 94 runs stand against India, when they played at Bristol for the last time.
World number 4 batter David Malan and Phill Salt will play a crucial role in the top order. Malan has 295 runs against SA at an average of 59 and a strike rate of 156.08 – his best against the T20I-playing nations. Salt is still struggling to adapt at the international level. Though he has 68 runs in 4 T20I his strike rate is above 180. England can go ahead with Jonny Bairstow instead of Salt as Bairstow averages 42.25 against SA and has a strike rate of 154.33. Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, and Harry Brook will be playing in the middle order. Ali was the second leading run scorer for England against India. Both Livingstone and Ali are expected to be utilised as a spin option against SA.
Reece Topley, Chris Jordan, and Richard Gleeson will be the main pace trio for the series. Gleeson made his debut against India with 3 wickets that handed over a victory to the hosts. Reece Topley has 12 wickets in his last 4 matches. England will be looking to experiment with the last bowling place. Sam Curran, David Willey, and Adil Rashid will be their options to pick from.
Key Players: Jos Butler, Dawid Malan, Reece Topley.
SOUTH AFRICA PREVIEW
It is a good sign for SA that Quinton de Kock is back in form after an injury forced him to stay aside for the first ODI and the practice games. de Kock has 323 runs against England in 9 games at a strike rate of 163.13. He might open with Reeza Hendricks. SA sent Dwayne Pretorious to the number three position against India. The plan backfired throughout the series except for the first game. They might send Aiden Markram at number three. Markram is currently ranked third in T20Is. He has played just one game against England in which he scored a half-century at a strike rate of 208.
Rassie Van der Dussen, Henrich Klassen, and David Miller will be the ideal choices in the middle order. Miller has been given the skipper’s duty for the series. Miller’s record against England is not that good but he has scored at a strike rate of 143.11. If he continues with his form from the IPL and the series against India, it will be difficult for England to restrict SA for a lower total.
Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, and Wayne Parnell will lead the pace attack for SA. Ngidi played 2 games against India to take 4 wickets at an average of 6.5. If SA looks to place the spin duo, Parnell might miss the playing eleven. Keshav Maharaj and Tabrez Shamsi both played all games against India but gave more than 10 runs in an over on average.
Key Players: Rassie Van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, Lungi Ngidi
The weather will be mostly cloudy with no chance of rain. The temperature will range between 14 and 22°C. The wind will be flowing from the west at 7-9 kph. The pitch favors batters. As the game proceeds, it becomes easier for them to pick bowlers. High-scoring encounters are a common sight here.
The 1st T20I between England and South Africa will be played at The County Ground, Bristol. The venue holds a capacity of 15000 spectators and has hosted 1 test, 31 ODIs & 3 T20I so far. It is the home ground for Gloucestershire Cricket Club.
TOSS: TO BOWL
In 3 T20Is, teams have successfully chased the target on all occasions. India has chased a target of 199 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. Rohit Sharma scored a century in that game. Therefore the team winning the toss should bowl first.
ENGLAND PREDICTED PLAYING XI:
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Dawid mlan, Chris Jordan, Richard Gleeson, Reece Topley.
ENGLAND’S ACTUAL PLAYING XI:
Chris Jordan, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Richard Gleeson, AU Rashid, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Reece Topley, Dawid Malan
SOUTH AFRICA PREDICTED PLAYING XI:
David Miller (C), Reeza Hendericks, Henrich Klassen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen.
SOUTH AFRICA ACTUAL PLAYING XI:
RR Rossouw, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, David Miller, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo
England has not won a T20I series this year. Besides this, they are yet to win a game at Bristol. They have lost on all three occasions. But England’s stats against SA are completely different. They have won 5 out of the last 6 games against South Africa. They have also won the last 3 T20I series against SA. Current English batters have a great record against SA.
We predict that England will defeat South Africa.