Morgan and Co. look for series whitewash over depleted Proteas

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30 Nov 2020 | 01:49 PM
authorHardik Worah

Morgan and Co. look for series whitewash over depleted Proteas

England have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series

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The series is done and dusted but South Africa would be aware of the fact that they did get under England's skin in the first two Twenty20 Internationals, which they eventually lost in the final over and allowed the visiting side to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The Eoin Morgan-led team is a much more formidable side than South Africa and would look to stamp their authority and secure a series a whitewash when the two teams meet for the third and final T20I at Newlands, Cape Town on Tuesday (December 1).

The Proteas have played some outstanding cricket in patches but have failed to hit the final nail in the coffin. The home side posted a solid total of 179 in the first T20I in Cape Town and then managed to reduce England to 34/3 before the end of six overs. However, they didn't put enough pressure on Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes and the two star batsmen took the game away from them. Even in the second T20I, South Africa were in a commanding position before Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan knocked them out in the last few overs.

SOUTH AFRICA LACK CONSISTENCY

The South African skipper Quinton de Kock has looked good during his stay in the middle, managing identical scores of 30 in the first two games but has failed to convert it into something substantial. The wicketkeeper-batsman will have to get those big runs and lead from the front if he wants his team to get the better of England. On top of that, de Kock hasn't found much support from the other batsmen.

Temba Bavuma has been below-par in this series and has struggled against the pace and swing of Sam Curran and Jofra Archer. South Africa played Reeza Hendricks at No. 3 in the second T20I but that pushed Faf du Plessis to No. 4. The latter scored a stunning fifty in the first encounter but is someone who needs a bit of time to settle in and the No. 4 spot generally doesn't allow that. Rassie van der Dussen too falls in the same category and unlike England, they don't have that firepower in the lower middle-order.

England too have a lot of top-order batsmen in their line-up but they are more versatile and can bat at almost every spot. South Africa are also missing the services of David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo who are unavailable for selection, but they could bring in players like Kyle Verreynne and JJ Smuts for the final T20I.

The South African team management however would be pleased with the way George Linde has performed in his debut series, both with bat and ball. The spin-bowling allrounder needs to keep playing and if all goes well, he could prove to be very handy in next year's T20 World Cup in India.

In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada won the Purple Cap in IPL 2020 but his wicket-taking form for South Africa has gone through ups and downs. Lungi Ngidi has been amongst wickets but has leaked runs at an economy of 11.19 in this series. Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi however were impressive in the second T20I, with the latter picking up three wickets. The Proteas could drop Ngidi for the final T20I and even rest Rabada, considering the fast bowling options they have in their squad.

ROY'S STRUGGLES AGAINST SPIN, AND ENGLAND'S BENCH STRENGTH

England had a problem of plenty but the team management would be glad about the versatility their players have shown in this series. The likes of Malan, Morgan, Stokes and Bairstow have all contributed but England would want their openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler to get some runs going into the ODI series, starting Friday (December 4). The former has scored only one fifty in 13 white-ball innings since the 2019 World Cup final and has particularly struggled against spinners.

The right-handed opener averages just 20.26 against spinners in T20s since 2018, compared to 32.17 against pacers. The likes of Tom Banton, Joe Root, Liam Livingstone, Alex Hales and a few more are waiting to pounce on that one opportunity and Roy would want to get back amongst the runs as soon as possible and brush aside all the concerns regarding his form.  

England would also want to test their bench strength and could give players like Sam Billings, Reece Topley, Mark Wood and Moeen Ali some game time.

England haven't lost a T20I series since July 2018. Morgan and Co. have won seven and drawn one of their eight bilateral series, winning 15 of their 20 completed matches. They would now look to carry forward this momentum and finish the series on a high.

PROBABLE XIs

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Reeza Hendricks/Janneman Malan, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, JJ Smuts, Kyle Verreynne, George Linde, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.

England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Curran/Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood/Reece Topley, Adil Rashid. 

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Quinton de KockJason Jonathan RoyEnglandSouth AfricaEngland tour of South Africa, 2020

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