South Africa vs Zimbabwe: 1st T20I, Preview: Off-colour Proteas look to dominate the visitors in the shortest format

Once, one of the most dominant sides in limited-overs cricketers, the Proteas have a lot of problems to address ahead of the World Cup 2019.

South African team
South African team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Although South Africa clean swept Zimbabwe 3-0 it in ODI series, the win wasn’t as convincing. Once, one of the most dominant sides in limited-overs cricketers, the Proteas have a lot of problems to address ahead of the World Cup 2019. However, brushing aside all the wounds and woes, they will be squaring off against Zimbabwe for a 3-match T20I series starting October 9, 2018.

Many of the players who featured in the ODI series will be playing the T20I series as well. But, the return of Faf du Plessis at the helm and Quinton de Kock behind the stumps is expected to give the side a major boost. The wicketkeeper-batsman hasn’t played a game since August and this series should give him some good match practice. The bowling department has got some T20 specialists and looks strong.

As far as Zimbabwe is concerned, it is with the willow where they are falling short. The batsmen need to pull up their sleeves and get the runs to put pressure on the opposition. Although the bowlers have fared very well in the ODI series, the batters let them down. It will be crucial to get a get total on the board if they are to fancy a chance of winning the game.

Pitch and Conditions

It will be after six years that a T20I will be played at the Buffalo Park in East London. If we go by the stats, it will be a great pitch to bat on and expect the teams to score big. South Africa scored 369 runs in the previous game (ODI) that was played at the venue against Bangladesh last year. The game will have a bright sunshine throughout and the temperature is expected to be close to 30 C. The winds blowing around could slightly assist the bowlers.

Team Combinations

South Africa

De Kock will open the innings with Rassie van der Dussen who would be making his debut. Faf at No. 3 will be followed by Duminy and Heinrich Klaasen. Christiaan Jonker and David Miller will take up the finishers’ role in the line-up. One would expect the Proteas to go hard with the depth in the batting order. While Lungi Ngidi and Junior Dala will share the pace responsibilities, Shamsi and Tahir will be the spinners in the side.

Predicted XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (C), JP Duminy, Heinrich Klaasen, Christiaan Jonker, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir, Junior Dala

Zimbabwe

Hamilton Masakadza will be walking out alongside Solomon Mire to open the innings. Tarisai Musakanda could be promoted up the order to bat at 3 with the experienced Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Peter Moore following him. Elton Chigumbura will be the all-rounder in the side. Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu will be sharing the pace duties and Brandon Mavuta will be the only spinner in the side.

Predicted XI: Hamilton Masakadza (C), Solomon Mire, Tarisai Musakanda, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moore(wk), Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Chris Mpofu

Focus will be on

Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

After being rested for the ODI series, de Kock is back in the T20I squad. With him playing professional cricket after a while, all eyes will be set firm on him. He is an important part of South Africa’s World Cup plans next year and runs under his belt in this series will boost his morale.

Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)

One of the most experienced players in the Zimbabwe lineup, Brendan Taylor doesn’t have the best of records in T20Is. He scored only 537 runs in 27 games at an average of 23 and strike rate of 115. This series will provide him with a wonderful opportunity to better the record and his experience in the middle order will be invaluable for the team.

StatAttack

175 – JP Duminy will become the sixth player and first South African to get to 2,000 T20I runs if he scores 175 runs in this series.

1,494 – Hamilton Masakadza has scored 1,494 runs in T20I cricket thus far. He will need six more runs to become the first Zimbabwean to score 1,500 T20I runs.

77 – The number of T20Is JP Duminy played thus far. When he plays the 1st T20I against Zimbabwe, he will be levelling AB de Villiers (78) who has played the most T20Is for the Proteas.

Broadcast details

TV – SonySIX

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