England v South Africa: 3rd T20 Preview


We preview the T20 series decider between England and South Africa, which is being played at Sophia Gardens this Sunday.

The Proteas bounced back from their trouncing at the hands of England, in the first T20, with a solid performance that saw them claim the honours out in 2nd T20 out in Southampton. And while there were still a plethora of questions left unanswered, these should be put on the backburner as a T20 series victory against the English will at least relieve some of the pain Proteas fans are feeling following their side's early exit from the Champions Trophy.

England v South Africa | Sunday 25 June | Sophia Gardens | 15:50

To Win Match
England 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | South Africa 5/4

He may be experimenting with his squad, but England coach Trevor Bayliss will not be pleased with his side's batting collapse. The hosts were sailing towards a series victory, needing just 49 runs from 38 balls, until Chris Morris dismissed the always dangerous Jonny Bairstow for 47.

The departure of the fiery ginger was the beginning of the end for the English who lost another three sticks before the close of their innings. And while they still had more than enough batsmen left in the hut to complete the job, the frequent fall of wickets meant they could build no momentum as the required run rate began to climb.

The English really did put themselves in a poor situation. I mean to go from one wicket down and needing just over 6.5 runs per over to requiring 13 off the final over is absurd. No, it’s more Protea like than absurd. The manner in which some of their wickets fell also brought up memories of the Proteas failed Champions Trophy campaign, with Jason Roy’s dismissal for obstructing the field almost outdoing David Miller’s run out against India for most comical dismissal of the year. Look it was pretty harsh on Roy, I didn’t think he actually changed his line that drastically, but I still couldn’t help but laugh whilst watching the replay of his little hop after being struck by the ball.

Anyway, let’s leave my poor taste in humour in the above paragraph and move on to the nitty gritty; what England need to do to win this one. Well, avoiding a batting collapse will go a long way to seeing them secure series honours but they will also need more from a few of their bowlers. Having two of your quicks going for nine or more runs an over is always going to make the chase hard – I’m looking at you Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett. They will also need young Liam Dawson to box a bit smarter. The left arm spinner offered far too many freebies up to the Proteas batsmen. If they can correct these issues, then they may well come out on top this Sunday.

South Africa
That was more like it from the Proteas. A well-timed innings and a solid bowling display is what you would expect from a side featuring a multitude of experienced heads. Before we get too euphoric, however, we must remember that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

One area of the Proteas display that really worried me was how reliant the South Africans were on Chris Morris to tie the English batsmen down. The right arm seamer was absolutely sensational, going for just 18 runs off his 4 overs, but he was the only Proteas bowler to go at less than eight an over.

While Morris was putting in one of the performances of his life, Morne Morkel was dishing out one of his worst. The lanky Morkel struggled to find a decent length and was punished by the English batsmen who plundered 43 runs from his four overs. Morkel wasn’t the only Proteas bowler to go for a bit of tap though as 11 runs came off Jon-Jon Smuts solitary over.

On the batting front, the South Africans looked a lot more composed than they did in the series opener. Another decent score from AB de Villers will have gone some way to getting the critiques off his back ( I’m part of that crowd and I haven’t been fully swayed by his two showings), while Jon Jon Smuts will have taken a lot of heart from his 46 runs at the top of the order.

Like the English, the Proteas do have areas of their game to address if they are to get a win on Sunday. Reeza Hendricks really needs to contribute at the top of the order while Morkel will need to up his game tenfold as he is a vital cog in this rather inexperienced bowling line-up.

Verdict: England 67/100
The Proteas were a lot better on Friday but, in all honesty, it was more a case of the English throwing it away rather than the South Africans dominating proceedings. I’m expecting a big response from the hosts this Sunday.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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