England and South Africa are currently preparing for their upcoming T20 series beginning on the 27th of November, alongside the West Indies vs New Zealand series and the much-awaited Australia vs India series. The series is set to be thrilling and could go either way.
England Squad: Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Sam Billings (WK), Jos Buttler (WK), Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (Captain), Advil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.
South Africa Squad: Quinton De Kock (Captain + WK), Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Faf Du Plessis, Bjorn Fortuin, Bueran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klassen, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Simpala, Jon-Jon Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Pite Van Biljon, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.
Schedule: 1st t20I November 27th – Newlands, Cape Town. 18:00 local time.
2nd t20I November 29th – Boland Park, Paarl. 14,30 local time.
3rd t20I December 1st – Newlands, Cape Town. 18:00 local time.
A Lot To Live Up To
The last time these two sides met was earlier this year and it was an incredible series. The three T20’s followed an equally exciting four-match test series that England took 3-1 and a tied ODI series. The first match went down to the wire with South Africa winning by 1 run on the last ball. Bavuma starred with the bat and Ngidi with the ball for South Africa. The second t20 was just as close, this time England won on the last ball by 2 runs. Contributions from Roy, Stokes, and Ali helped England to 204-7, before De Kock and Van Der Dussen took South Africa close but a brilliant final over from Curran won them the game. England won the final t20 and therefore the series with a five-wicket win in a high-scoring third t20. Buttler, Bairstow, and Morgan all made half-centuries for England to power England to a chase of 222. I’m looking forward to an exciting series this time around.
World Class Fast Bowling on Display
Both sides have quality fast bowling units with three of the top bowlers from the recent IPL on display. South Africa will be looking to Delhi Capitals teammates Nortje and Rabada as their pace options. Nortje recorded 5 of the 10 fastest balls in the IPL, including the fastest at 156.22 km/h and will be looking for more of the same for the national team. England’s Archer had another 4 of the 10 fastest balls with his fastest at 153.62. Kagiso Rabada who is back in the national T20 team was the top wicket-taker at the recent IPL with 29 at an average of 17.79 and an economy of 8.23. Archer was 6th highest with 20 wickets at 18.25 with an extraordinary economy of 6.55. Nortje wasn’t far behind also with 20 at 24.35 with an economy of 8.34. Archer bowled the most dots in the IPL with Nortje 4th and a Rabada 5th in that list. All these stats suggest a great spectacle of fast bowling and this should be backed up with quality spinners and batsmen. Sam Curran is the in-form all-rounder for England with 13 wickets and 186 runs at the IPL, he was also the first man to reach 150 runs and 10 wickets in the tournament. England’s Archer had the 3rd highest strike rate of the tournament hitting sixes all over the ground striking at 179.36. South Africa’s captain De Kock is ever consistent these days and the IPL was no different. He was the fifth-highest run-scorer with 483 including 21 sixes. Du Plessis also scored well with 449 runs including a top score of 87*. Ben Stokes added to England’s t20 opening batsman dilemma with a score of 107* at the top of the order for Rajasthan. Bairstow also scored 97. All this added to players like in form Sam Billings, South Africa’s first choice spinner Shamsi, Ngidi, and Miller, and England’s Rashid Morgan and Roy should make for a thrilling and even series.
Two World-Class Captains and Grounds
Both sides have one of the best t20 captains in the world at the moment in Eoin Morgan and Quinton De Kock. Eoin Morgan led England to ODI World Cup glory in 2019 and averages 30.5 in his 51 matches as t20 captain. His high score is 91 and he has hit 2240 runs for England in this format. Quinton De Kock has thrived as one day captain with 339 runs at 48.42 in his 8 games as captain. Two of the t20’s are being played at Newlands where South Africa have played 12 previous t20I’s. They have won only 5 of these twelve but will be looking to make it 7 out of 14 by the end of the series. England have been equally unsuccessful at the ground with just 1 win in 4 attempts. The highest score at the ground is 193 by Australia in February this year. Boland Park will play host to its first-ever t20I but has held ODI’s before. The most recent game there was won by South Africa with Klaasen hitting an unbeaten 123.
I think that the series will end 2-1 in favour of England. While both sides are very strong, I think that England’s high class batting line up of Buttler, Bairstow, Roy and Stokes, as well as their depth with Billings Curran Topley and Malan will have too much for South Africa.