South Africa v England – 1st T20 International at 19.02.2016 at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 2
Newlands, Cape Town, hosts the first of two T20I’s to end England’s tour of South Africa. With England winning the Test series and South Africa the ODI’s, it’s down to the games shortest format to see who takes overall bragging rights of the tour. Both sides have selected their squads for next month’s World Cup in India and will be keen to head into the high profile global event with a series win.
Cape Town should be bathed in early evening sunshine with temperatures in the mid-twenties. Expect a full twenty over a side smash under the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain.
Cape Town has hosted twelve T20I’s, nine of which were played during the 2007 World Cup. Surprisingly given the hosts love of this venue in Tests, their record here in twenty over cricket is poor. They’ve lost their last three games here to West Indies, Pakistan and Australia.
Here is a list of the last ten completed scores in T20I cricket at Newlands (most recent first) – 165, 176, 146, 143, 140, 101, 154, 123, 144, 135 – Average of 143
South Africa have batted first in seven of twelve matches played in T20I cricket since the end of the last World Cup in early 2014 (most recent first) – 148, 169, 165, 231, 195, 101, 145 – Average of 165
England have batted first in six of seven matches played in T20I cricket since the end of the
last World Cup in early 2014 (most recent first) – 154, 172, 160, 182, 191, 180 – Average of 173
There’s not much to go on courtesy of domestic cricket with just three Ram Slam matches played here this season; two of which were rain affected. Scores of 81 (6 overs), 125 (18 overs) and 177 (20 overs) were recorded.
Faf du Plessis leads a South Africa side that impressively won its last T20I series two-nil away in India. The batting line up is bolstered by left handers Quinton de Kock, who scored 326 runs in the preceding five match ODI series and Rilee Rossouw, who averages 39 in T20I’s. The middle order is full of IPL experience in the form of JP Duminy and David Miller whereas all rounders Chris Morris and Farhaan Behardien have plenty to prove having ousted Albie Morkel from the World Cup Squad. Kasigo Rabada and Imran Tahir must take wickets in the continued absence of Dale Steyn.
Since being bowled out last year for 88 against the not-so-mighty Netherlands in an embarrassing World Cup defeat in Bangladesh, England have blossomed into arguably one of the most exciting and consistent twenty over sides in world cricket. Wins against India, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan has seen Eoin Morgan’s side rack up an enviable post-World Cup record of P7, W6, L1. Alex Hales and Jason Roy give it a bash up top, followed by a middle order of Joe Root, Morgan, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali. James Vince batted three in England’s last series and looked right at home scoring 125 runs in three innings. The bowling will be led by left armers David Willey and the ever improving Reece Topley, fresh from taking ten wickets in the ODI series. Adil Rashid’s leg spin was a highlight of the Big Bash, the Bradford twirler finished second on the wicket taking list with 16 wickets in nine matches played for his Adelaide outfit.
On his day AB de Villiers is as destructive and innovative as any batsman that has ever graced the cricketing planet. In India pre-Christmas, he was promoted right to the top of the order to bat for the maximum amount of time allowable. With de Kock’s recent run of form, we will have to see if AB opens or drops back down to three. His record for South Africa isn’t what you’d expect – an average of 22.8 from 60 innings, six fifties and a top score of 79* is well down on his domestic T20 record where he averages 31.1 from 171 innings, has hit twenty-four fifties and two hundreds, with a top score of 133*. With a long overdue century on this ground last weekend to seal the ODI series, de Villiers looks to be hitting top form ahead of next months World Cup.
Alex Hales averages more (34.7) in twenty over international cricket than he does in Test and ODI cricket. Picked for the longer formats based upon his short form successes, he comes into these two matches in brilliant form after scores of 112, 50, 65, 99 and 57 in the ODI’s – the most runs any English batsman has accumulated in any five match series. He has one career century plus seven half centuries in 28 T20I innings with a strike rate of 136 runs per hundred balls.
The average score as outlined above at Newlands is well down on what you might expect given the crash, bang, wallop nature of twenty over cricket. At the end of a long South African season and a low scoring ODI last week on this ground, there’s nothing to suggest this will be a total run-fest.
Whichever side bats first recommend taking any UNDER RUNS bet around the 173-176 mark