November 27th, the big day is finally here—England (Eng) vs South Africa (SA), India vs Australia, and New Zealand vs West Indies.
We will start by previewing the England vs South Africa 3-match T20I series. This series has been in the news for ominous reasons—Cricket South Africa’s administrative troubles, mixed BLM’s messages, and COVID positive cases. Now that the series is finally on, let us focus on the cricket.
My prediction for the series: South Africa 3, England 0. Read till the end to see why.
Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!
Eng: Too Many Options!!
- England’s limited overs batting has so much depth they are currently practicing with Team Morgan vs Team Buttler. Eyeing the T20 World Cup, experimentation will be the focus before settling down
- How many openers can they fit in? Bairstow, Roy, Buttler, and now even Stokes (Banton did not even make the T20I squad)
- Dawid Malan will hold key given his stellar recent form – 16 matches, average of 48.71, 146.66 strike rate, with the best of 103*
SA: Solid Line Up But Finishers Needed
- De Kock and Faf are in good touch as seen in the IPL. With Miller, Van der Dussen, Bavuma, and Klassen, they have a good mix of experience and youth
- SA will definitely be steady, but can they need their power hitters and finishers come to the party. (The old Killer Miller, please come back)
- Consistency will be key with this line-up. If their batsmen fire in the first match, they will be dangerous to watch for the rest of the series.
Eng: Good composition but expensive death bowling
- Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, and Chris Jordan are almost a certainty, but who else? Mark Wood? Wickets vs Economy – that is the question.
- All-rounders will be key. If Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, and Ben Stokes make the XI and are fit enough to bowl, the balance will be handy
- The Currans make things happen but only one might make the XI
SA: Bowlers for the Win
- If Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje can repeat their heroics from the IPL, they will be a handful
- Phelukwayo will be hold the key to South Africa’s success as the key all-rounder in the side
- Shamsi’s destructive spin in the middle overs give SA the edge
The Broken Dream
Eng: Joe Root and Moeen Ali
- Moeen Ali has committed to all formats in the final leg of his career but how many chances does he have left in him?
- Joe Root is massively underrated in T20 cricket. His contributions in the 2016 T20 World Cup were monumental, but he has been selected only for the ODI side, not the T20 side.
- Will Reece Topley make a comeback?
SA: Is Dale Steyn’s international career over?
- After having a poor IPL, it seems that Dale Steyn’s international career has finally come to an end.
- Will Janneman Malan get to showcase his talent?
Last time England toured South Africa in February 2020 (pre-COVID times), it was a close 2-1 contest in England’s favor. The margins of victory?
- SA won by 1 run, Eng won by 2 runs, and Eng won with 5 balls to spare.
- The scores? 177 vs 176, 204 vs 202, 222 vs 226
If this series is going to be anywhere close, it is going to be a cracker of a contest!
Verdict: 0-3 South Africa
England definitely have better resources and will be a threat at the T20 World Cup next year, but 3-match series might not be enough time to find a settled line up. South Africa at home with a clearer batting line up and in-form bowling attack can spring a surprise.
I think South Africa will spice things up and win 3-0 due to the momentum if they start on a good note.
By the time the ODI series gets around, England will have an edge. Whatever ends up happening, this is a series that is going to have high-scoring close contests.
My Starting XI:
These are my starting XI for the first T20I (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).
Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (WK), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan*, Ben Stokes, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan
Quinton de Kock * (WK), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Rassie Van der Dussen, Heinrich Klassen, David Miller, Andile Phelukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
These are the other options in the squads.
Eng: Tom Curran, Jason Roy, Reece Topley, Mark Wood
SA: Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Simpala, JJ Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Pite von Biljon, Kyle Verreynne
Image Courtesy: Newlands, Cape Town – PaddyBriggs at English Wikipedia Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons