South Africa v England
Sunday November 29, 12:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Wobbly South Africa
South Africa have got to sort out their balance for the crucial second match of the three-game series. In defeat at Cape Town, their sixth bowler was a wicketkeeper (Heinrich Klaasen).
Before the series started we said the difference between the XIs was that England had the edge in the death overs with the bat with South Africa shy of a No 7 and No 8. Now they either teamed up Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje or they tried to muddle through. They went with the latter.
Nortje could still play ahead of Beuran Hendricks who had a nightmare final over to hand England the game. But Pite van Biljon, who contributes little, will need to make way for JJ Smuts.
Possible XI De Kock, Bavuma, Du Plessis, van der Dussen, Klaasen, Smuts, Linde, Shamsi, Rabada, Nortje, Ngidi
Bairstow the difference
England captain Eoin Morgan was delighted with his five-wicket win in Cape Town. The much-vaunted top three of Roy-Buttler-Malan all failed and they were in the mire chasing 180 at 34 for three.
But Jonny Bairstow, revelling in his new No 4 role, smashed 86 from 48, to make all the difference. And that is T20 in a nutshell. A team needs only one player to perform well or badly to win or lose. Bairstow did for it England. Sadly, Hendricks did it for South Africa.
Expect England to go with the same XI before experimenting in game three if they have the series wrapped up. It is now seven wins from their last eight for England and they are beginning to tune up perfectly for the World T20. The only issue may be the continual poor form of Jason Roy.
Probable XI Buttler, Roy, Malan, Bairstow, Stokes, Morgan, S Curran, T Curran, Jordan, Archer, Rashid
The average score in the last two years in the Mzansi Super League is 166. We would expect that to be breached with 170 the minimum, given both sides record of profligacy in the field. There is a toss bias, too. Nine of the last 13 have been won by the chaser. So the toss and pitch conditions should suit both sides characteristics to do better batting second.
Hosts can go close in chase
England are 1.548/15 with South Africa 2.6613/8. With a toss bias at play, those are very poor odds on England.
Backing South Africa with the chase in their favour is a stable strategy. But it could pay to be greedy and wait for something bigger. A couple of ticks could well be put on that price with England's batting so strong.
The caveat is obvious, though: South Africa must get their balance sorted and going with the same personnel will be a mistake.
Jos Buttler and Quinton de Kock have both been price-boosted to 3/1 for top England and South Africa bat respectively. De Kock looked in decent nick before giving way to Faf Du Plessis, who goes off at 3/1.
Ngidi roared back to share honours with George Linde, the debutant, for top SA bowler. But he still goes off at 7/2 with Sportsbook despite being vastly more potent in this market than jolly Kagiso Rabada at 15/8.