Date & Time: Wednesday, February 12, 21:30 IST
Venue: Buffalo Park, East London, South Africa
Road towards T20 World Cup accelerates
England’s tour of South Africa moves into its important phase with the 3-match T20I series set to begin at Buffalo Park on Wednesday. With the T20 world cup around the corner both the teams are in the process to figure out their ideal 15 men squad. Shorter the format, the hosts seem to be getting better which was evident in the ODI series. On the other hand, England wasn’t at its best in the ODIs. They may have sneaked through to level the series but in the T20Is they can’t afford the same rustiness to creep in.
The biggest question in front of England is whether to continue Butler at the top of the order or not. If they continue with the same, it will be interesting to see who opens with him and who bats at No.3 for them. On the other side, there won’t be many changes for South Africa from the ODI set up.
England Possible XI
Jos Buttler Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Denly, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
South Africa Possible XI
Quinton de Kock (c, wk), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Beuran Hendricks
Buffalo Park has hosted only a couple of T20Is, in those two matches, the scores have been around 165. Pacers and leg spinners will have their say with the conditions on offer and nature of the format.
The South African skipper has been in good form off late across formats. He was the top run-scorer in the Test and ODI series as well. So expect nothing different from him in the T20Is as well where he has a PPM of 54 and an MDTA of 1.33 in the format.
He was not at his best in the ODI series but in T20s he is one among the most sought after bowlers. He was the top wicket-taker for Sixers in the BBL. In the two matches played against the opposition, he has a PPM of 68 in the last 3 years. In addition to his bowling, he is also a handy batsman down the order.
It will be interesting to see whether he makes it to the Playing XI or not in the presence of both Bairstow and Roy. He is in great form of late in the format. In the last 10 matches played, he has scored at PPM of 58.2 which makes him a must-have a batsman in the fantasy team.