South Africa and England lock horns for the second time this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a reshuffle in the international cricket calendar.
The Three Lions last toured South Africa in early 2020 before the pandemic struck, defeating the Proteas in a test and T20I series, while playing out a draw in the ODIs.
England have been one of the few teams to have played international cricket during the pandemic and defeated Australia and shared the spoils against Pakistan in T20 series’ earlier in the year.
The last series between the Three Lions and South Africa was a thriller that went down to the wire, so fingers crossed for more of the same.
Check out our preview and tips for the series below.
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South Africa have lost their last two T20I series in close contests against England and Australia. Quinton de Kock will want his team to sharpen up against elite opponents with the World T20 on the horizon in 2021.
Pundits have often criticised the Proteas for their performances under pressure and this was certainly a factor against England before crumbling against the Aussies with two weak batting displays.
Despite not playing internationals, South Africa’s key players have been in action since in the Indian Premier League. De Kock was part of the Mumbai Indians’ squad that won the competition. He defeated his international teammates Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the final, both of whom excelled for Delhi Capitals in the competition.
With their best players match sharp, the Proteas should be fit and firing ready for Morgan’s side. There is a lot of talent in the ranks, but they will have to prove themselves against a quality outfit, especially on home soil.
England were excellent against the Aussies in their T20I series last time out, holding their composure under pressure. It was the same story in their last visit to South Africa, producing clinical performances when they were needed. This will stand them in good stead for the T20 World Cup next year.
A number of players have been active in the IPL so there should be no issues regarding a lack of match sharpness. Morgan and his men will be eager to notch another triumph over the Proteas on their travels.
1st T20: 27th November 2020 – South Africa v England – Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
2nd T20: 29th November 2020 – South Africa v England – Boland Park, Paarl
3rd T20: 1st December 2020 – South Africa v England – Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
South Africa have named a large squad for the T20 series, featuring 24 players. De Kock leads the team and he has a raft of experience at his disposal.
The skipper himself has been in good touch in the IPL and has a strong record against England, averaging 42.40 against the Three Lions. Faf du Plessis was also solid in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, although they failed to reach the post-season.
South Africa need more from players outside of De Kock and Du Plessis as their batting against Australia was disappointing to say the least. The Proteas were bowled out twice for under 100 in crushing defeats. Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller all need to improve.
The bowling ranks are stocked with talent. Rabada won the Purple Cap for most wickets taken in the IPL, while Nortje was also extremely potent. Lungi Ndigi has had issues with injuries, but at his best he can match them wicket-for-wicket. Expectations are high for the SA pace attack.
Quinton de Kock To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman – 2.75 bet365
England have also named an experienced line-up for the T20I series. Morgan and the selectors have kept faith with the same players that have been part of preparations for the T20 World Cup.
Jofra Archer leads a strong bowling attack and was named MVP of the 2020 IPL for his performances for Rajasthan Royals. The 25-year-old was operating at the peak of his powers and could be England’s key man in the series.
Chris Jordan was on the mark for Kings XI Punjab in vital moments, although not quite good enough to guide them into the post-season. He remains an important contributor for England, while Mark Wood, Reece Topley, Tom and Sam Curran fill out the pace ranks.
The batsmen are locked in place. There’s no room for Joe Root in the T20 squad as Dawid Malan takes his place at number three. Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Morgan all had differing fortunes in the IPL, although Ben Stokes proved his worth as a potential opener.
Jofra Archer To Be England’s Best Bowler – 3.00 Betway
England won the last series between these sides earlier in the year courtesy of a brilliant chase in the third T20I. The Proteas posted a massive 222 from their 20 overs, but Buttler, Morgan and Bairstow were excellent to guide their side over the line with five balls to spare.
The Three Lions also won the T20I series between the teams in 2017 on home soil, holding their nerve to defend 181 in the final game. Recent history is on England’s side in close matches.
However, South Africa do hold the edge overall in head-to-head meetings, winning nine of the 17 contests the two sides have played, with England narrowly behind with eight victories. We expect to see another close series between the Proteas and Morgan’s men.
The two sides are evenly matched and have comparable talent, especially in the bowling ranks. However, South Africa need Rabada and Nortje at their best to stop the England batting line-up.
Buttler, Stokes, Malan, Morgan, Bairstow and Jason Roy have the talent tooverwhelm the Proteas. Outside of De Kock and Du Plessis, South Africa’s batsmen are inconsistent at international level.
On that basis, England should have the edge as they did earlier this year, and they’re our cricket tip to close out another 2-1 victory.
England To Beat South Africa 2-1 T20 Series – 2.37 Betway