England vs South Africa: First T20 Preview


Both the English and the South African camps have made wholesale changes their squads for the three T20 Internationals. 

With both sides coming off some pretty average Champions Trophy campaigns, this T20 series offers a chance of redemption before the Tests get underway.

Can AB de Villiers find a bit of form in the shortest format of the game and lead his side to victory or will the English ensure that they make home ground advantage count?

England vs South Africa | Wednesday 22 June 2017 | The Rose Bowl, Southampton | 19:30

To Win Match
England 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | South Africa 11/10

The English come into this three-match T20 series with a new-look squad as Test stars Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes are all set to be rested. Also missing from the side will be Adil Rashid, Jake Ball, Chris Woakes and Tymal Mills. It’s also worth noting that Mark Wood – who was so impressive in the Champions Trophy and the ODIs – will only the play in the first T20 before returning to Durham.

With so many first team regulars missing it comes as no real surprise to see that there are five uncapped players in the squad. South African supporters will be particularly interested in seeing how David Malan performs against the country he was raised in. He’s been excellent for the Lions (England A) as well as Middlesex in recent months. The left-hander strikes is one of the cleanest power hitters within the County scene and will relish the opportunity to show what he can do on the biggest stage.

Another one to look out for is Mason Crane. The Hampshire leg-spinner may well crack the nod on his home ground, where he’s been so good in limited overs cricket. He poses a massive wicket-taking threat and will be desperate to claim a few of the bigger South African scalps.

Jason Roy has endured an absolutely terrible few months with the bat in English colours. This kind of no-consequence series might be just what he needs to find a bit of form for the national side. He comes into this match after smashing an 81-ball 92 against Worcestershire against Surrey in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Expect some big performances from the other elder statesmen who haven’t been rested. Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, David Willey and Jos Buttler will all look to dominate against a rag-tag South African line-up.

South Africa
Maybe it’s time for South African cricket to move on from AB de Villiers. Make no mistake, he has been an excellent servant to the game for a number of years. However, his commitment to the side has been called into question over the last few months, with many fans and pundits alike feeling as though the Pretoria native is picking and choosing his games.

As much has been evident in the way he’s approached this series against England. De Villiers has made himself available for the ODIs and T20s and ruled himself out of the Tests. It looks increasingly as though his sole aim is to claim a major ICC trophy before bringing down the curtain on his career in the various T20 leagues around the world.

Enough about AB, though. A number of fringe players will be looking to stake a claim here with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy all being rested. The batting will likely be opened by Reeza Hendricks and Jon-Jon Smuts – both of whom have excellent domestic records but have battled on the international stage.

There is always the chance that Wayne Parnell could be promoted up the order as has been the case when he’s turned out for the Cape Cobras, although this doesn’t seem likely. I feel he'll be far better suited being employed in the lower order behind the likes of David Miller and Farhaan Behardien.

While a lot has been made of the batting combinations, South Africa do boast a pretty solid bowling attack. Doming is spoiled for choice when it comes to attacking spinners with both Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi in the squad. Wayne Parnell, Chris Morris, Andile Phelukwayo, Dane Paterson, Dwaine Pretorius and Morne Morkel offer a pretty good spread in terms of seam options.

Verdict: England 72/100
Despite all of the debutants in the squad, I still think that the English are in a better headspace going into this match. Most of the South African squad will still be reeling after a dismal Champions Trophy campaign. Get on England at 72/100.

Value Bet: Jason Roy to top score for England at 33/10
A bit of a left-field call here, but something has to give. Roy was outstanding in his Royal One-Day Cup semi-final and may well relish the opportunity to bat in a series like this where there is considerably less pressure. Back him to carry his weekend form into this match at 33/10.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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