Preview: Can Weakened South Africa Halt This Dominant England Cricket Team?
The England cricket team swept the T20I series 3-0 and are marching towards the T20 World Cup next year.
England had several contributors – the charismatic Sam Curran, determined Jonny Bairstow, and consistent Dawid Malan. For South Africa, Russie Van Der Dussen and George Linde impressed, but the disappointments of a team in transition keep on increasing.
Anyway, before get ahead of ourselves, let us talk about the elephant in the room. This ODI series was supposed to start two days ago, but was CANCELLED due to a positive test and breach over the bio-secure protocols. Everyone has tested negative now, and the tour is on with revised dates, but was a genuine concern for cricket fans and administrators.
Let us move to the ODI series preview. Find out who to watch out and our predictions between South Africa and this dominant England cricket team. COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR OPINIONS!
Also Read: Series Predictions – Twitter Edition: Can you Do Better?
*Update – The series has since been called off (07/12)
Eng: Key Players Rested But England Cricket Have Enough Depth
- Dawid Malan, ended the T20I series with 99*, 2 MOM awards, and the MOS award, but is not part of the ODI squad. Do not worry—someone named Joe Root will slide into the #3 spot without trouble.
- Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone have been making their cases for a while without cementing their spots. Is this the series for them?
- Do not underestimate Jason Roy following low T20I scores. In ODIs, he will definitely make a mark.
SA: Lots Rest on Quinton de Kock and Van der Dussen’s Shoulder
- South Africa are planning towards the 2023 World Cup and have rested the experienced Faf du Plessis. Hence, captain de Kock and the man-in-form der Dussen would need to do a bulk of the scoring.
- Janneman Malan scored a 100 vs Australia not too long ago. After the COVID break, he would want to remind people of the promise of his talent.
- David Miller did not play the T20Is but may be available for the ODIs. If he returns, South Africa will have a a potential middle order of Van der Dussen-Klassen-Miller.
Eng: Woakes and Wood Highlight the Bowling
- Mark Wood has been excellent in the few opportunities over the past year. With Archer rested and Jordan a T20I specialist, Wood will get opportunities to showcase his talent.
- Without Sam Curran, Ben Stokes, and an out-of-form Tom Curran, the fast-bowling all-round spot is a concern.
- England should not miss the rested Jofra Archer because the ever-consistent Chris Woakes is back.
SA: Bowling a Concern for Rabada-less South Africa
- South Africa failed to defend large scores in the T20Is. With Rabada out with a groin injury, the likes of Ngidi and Nortje will need to rise up to the occasions.
- George Linde was the find of the T20I series with his finishing touch and miserly left-arm spin. If Linde and Shamsi can tie England in the middle phase, South Africa might have a shot.
- Just like Miller, Phelukwayo’s return (if available) will be a large boost to this unbalanced South African side.
Also Read: Can Faf Fulfill ABD’s Broken Dream?
The Broken Dream
Eng: Moeen Ali Again
- Moeen Ali had earlier committed to all formats but was not given a shot in the T20Is. With England sweeping the series 3-0, he may not be picked again for T20Is. So, this is his only chance to remind the public of his potential.
SA: Will Klassen Show his Klass?
- Heinrich Klassen burst onto the ODI scene with a marvelous 100 against India, but has not been consistent enough. With Kyle Verreynne as the backup keeper in the squad, Klassen may not get a long window.
Verdict: 2-1 England
For the T20I series, my prediction of 3-0 was absolutely spot on. Except it was horrendously off since the bet was on South Africa. 😅
This time, I am going for a more conservative 2-1 win in favor of the England cricket team. England should take the momentum from the T20I series and win the first game. South Africa will come back and tie the series 1-1 before a close finish should seal the deal for the world champions.
Watch out for Van der Dussen and Janneman Malan from South Africa and out-of-the-Fab-Four Joe Root and Liam Livingstone.
Whatever happens, fingers crossed for a COMPLETE series. Regardless of who wins or loses, it is the safety of the players, the trust in the bio-secure environment, and the future of bilateral cricket in the age of COVID that is at stake.
What do you think will be the series result? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!
My Starting XI:
These are my starting XI for the first T20I (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).
Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan*, Jos Buttler (WK), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley
Quinton de Kock * (WK), Temba Bavuma, Janneman Malan, Rassie Van der Dussen, Heinrich Klassen, David Miller, George Linde, Andile Phelukwayo, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
These are the other options in the squads.
Eng: Tom Curran, Olly Stone, Liam Livingstone, Lewis Gregory
SA: Junior Dala, Beuran Hendricks, Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Simpala, JJ Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Kyle Verreynne (WK)
Image Courtesy: Jonny Bairstow – Mcadge, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons