The Ageas Bowl in Southampton will play host to the third and final T20I between England and South Africa on Sunday, with the series tied 1-1. The hosts went 1-0 up in the series with a dominant 41-run win in the first game, but on Thursday, the Proteas struck back with a thumping victory of their own, downing the Three Lions by a staggering 58-run margin.
Having not yet won a bilateral series as full-time skipper, Jos Buttler will be aiming to get off the mark. South Africa, meanwhile, will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run in bilateral T20Is. The Proteas are unbeaten in each of their last 4 bilateral series, with their last series defeat coming against Pakistan back in April 2021.
A cracking contest awaits us in Southampton!
A total of 8 T20s - one T20I - have been played at the Ageas Bowl this year, and it has to be said that the ground has been pretty high-scoring: the average batting first score at the venue has been 169. The last T20I played at this venue saw the team batting first, India, post a mammoth 198 on the board. Given 150 has been passed on 6/8 occasions at this venue this year, expect a pretty high-scoring encounter come Sunday.
The first two T20s of this series were won by the team that batted first, and it would be a major surprise if the captain winning the toss in the third game doesn’t opt to bat first again. For only 2/8 T20s played at this venue this year have been won by the team chasing. The last T20I played at the Ageas Bowl saw India winning by 50 runs after posting 198 on the board.
On the bowling front, pace has had more success this year at the venue than spin. Pacers have maintained a better economy (7.6), average (20.3) and strike rate (16) than spinners (ER 8.2, average 28.2 and SR 20.6). But these numbers don’t necessarily mean that life will be easy for the seamers in the series decider.
All in all, we can expect a pretty good contest between bat and ball come Sunday; a wicket that offers something for everyone.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
Captain and vice-captain suggestions
Small Leagues: Moeen Ali, Lungi Ngidi (vc)
Grand Leagues: Jonny Bairstow ©, Rilee Rossouw (vc)
Stats that matter
* Since returning to the T20I side against India, Lungi Ngidi has taken 11 wickets in 4 matches at an ER of 6.80. With 7 wickets to his name, he is the highest wicket-taker of this series, four clear of second-placed Richard Gleeson (4).
* On Thursday, Reeza Hendricks scored back-to-back T20Is for the second time in his career. The first instance came all the way back in 2019, when he notched up scores of 65 and 66 against Sri Lanka.
* In all T20s this year, Rilee Rossouw has scored 998 runs at an average of 47.52 and a SR of 182.4. In the second T20I, he posted his highest ever T20I score (96*).
* Jonny Bairstow has scored 3 fifties in 5 T20I knocks at the Ageas Bowl. His last 2 T20I scores at the venue read 55 and 51.
* Jos Buttler, too, has killed it at the Ageas Bowl. He averages 73.66 at the venue and his last 3 T20I scores at the Ageas Bowl read 77*, 44 and 73*.
Grand League Punts
* Given Ngidi has simply not been able to stop taking wickets this year, it’d be a very wise move to have him in your fantasy XI. You may even gamble by making him the vice-skipper.
* Bairstow has looked in killer touch this series and so it’s pretty much a no-brainer to lay faith in the right-hander. He is one of those batters who, when he is on a roll, is simply unstoppable. His record at the Ageas Bowl is even more incentive to have him in the XI.
* De Kock and Buttler may not have big scores next to their name, but it’s always advisable to gamble on through and through match-winners like them.
Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Richard Gleeson, Reece Topley
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rilee Rossouw, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller (c), Tristan Stubbs, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi