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ENG v SA, 2nd T20 Preview: Series on the line as South Africa vow to fight back

South Africa have to turn their tour of England around at Taunton to stay in contention in the 3-match series.

Mark Wood of England
Mark Wood of England (R) celebrates taking the wicket of David Miller of South Africa. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

After an ordinary performance by the Proteas, where the English romped home with 9-wickets in hand and 33 balls to spare, De Villiers’ men have to stage a fight back in order to stay alive in the series. Their tour of England hasn’t been kind to them at all, after losing the 3-match ODI series, South Africa did not go past the group stages of the ICC Champions Trophy.

South Africa managed to score 142 for 3 in 20 overs, a scorecard which looks very odd. The total was below par but they lost only 3 wickets in the allotted overs that is because the England side bowled tightly, especially to De Villiers. There were no loose balls on offer as young spinners Dawson and Crane tightened the screws in the middle overs. De Villiers had the company of Farhaan Behardien, along with whom the skipper added 110 runs for the third wicket but consumed 95 balls in the process. They were in a tricky position when they got together at 32 for 3 but in hindsight, both batters will be disappointed to not get anything around 160 after batting for so long.

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England were clinical and had a near-perfect game. Their young spinners bowled exceptionally well, though they were not rewarded with any wickets. Mark Wood and David Wiley gave them the perfect start as the new ball bowlers shattered the top order of South Africa. England has been a remarkable limited overs unit in the last 2 years and such a performance is not surprising from them. Jason Roy got some runs under his belt as he got a 14-ball 28 before he was trapped in front by Phehlukwayo. Alex Hales and the in-form Jonny Bairstow then took their side home remaining unbeaten on 47 and 60 respectively. England would want to replicate this performance and close out the series at Taunton. They should be wary of South Africa as De Villiers has mentioned that they will fight back hard.

Toss: England won the toss and opted to field

Debutants: Tom Curran and Liam Livingstone get their debutant T20I caps

Playing XI:

South Africa: JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, AB de Villiers(c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Mangaliso Mosehle(w), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Morne Morkel, Dane Paterson

England: Jason Roy, Sam Billings, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan(c), Jos Buttler(w), Liam Livingstone, Liam Dawson, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran

Focus will be on:

 

Jos Buttler

Buttler did not get an opportunity to bat in the first game but might just get his chance in this game. He had a decent run in the IPL, where he opened for Mumbai Indians. The 30-year old bats in the middle order for his country and boasts a strike rate of 140. His firepower with the bat towards the end of the innings will inject momentum into England’s innings.

David Miller

Due to the absence of the regular players, Miller is promoted to bat at No. 4 in the last game. He must make the best of this opportunity by getting runs under his belt. He did not have the best of seasons in the IPL winning just 5 caps out if 14 for Kings XI Punjab. T20 is the format which brought Miller into prominence. He can be a handy option against the likes of Liam Dawson and Mason Crane.

Team Combinations:

England

England are likely to retain the same team. Roy getting a quick fire 28 will give them a sigh of relief as he has struggled a lot in the past. He will open again alongside Alex Hales. The middle order will revolve around Bairstow, Morgan and Buttler. Sam Billings will be keen to prove his credentials but can only get limited opportunities at No. 6. The all-round skills of Liam Dawson give England balance as he can bat at 7 and give 4 overs to his skipper. Crane’s leg spin has been highly praised by Morgan and De Villiers and will again play a pivotal role in the 2nd T20. The fast bowling will be taken care by the trio of Mark Wood, Chris Jordan and David Willey.

South Africa
Despite their failures in the first game, Smuts and Hendricks will open the innings again. De Villiers and Miller will occupy the No. 3 and 4 positions. Behardien’s 64* hasn’t done any harm to his selection and will bat at No. 5. South Africa did not include Chris Morris in the line-up which was very surprising. He is someone who can provide balance and play a part with both bat and ball. It is a tip-off between Morris and Pretorius, both similar type of players. The rest of them- Parnell, Mosehle, Phehlukwayo, Shamsi and Tahir are likely to retain their spots in the XI.

 

Stat Attack:

57- runs required by Jos Buttler to complete 1,000 T20 runs.

4- wickets required by Imran Tahir to draw level with Dale Steyn’s tally of 58 wickets. Steyn leads the list of the highest wicket-takers for South Africa in T20 internationals.

2- consecutive wins by England over South Africa. The Proteas had won the preceding 3 encounters. Overall, England have won 5 out of 13 games played between both sides.

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