Twenty20 Betting: England still capable of pruning Proteas

Kallis looked a class act

Ed Hawkins, the SJA Betting Writer of the Year, says it is not all gloom for the hosts against South Africa and they can put up a strong challenge at Old Trafford on Monday

"There were hints of England getting to grips with the game in Durham"

Back-to-lay England at 2.226/5

Dismantled is probably the word for England's defeat by South Africa at Durham on Saturday. Yet there seems little the hosts can do in terms of personnel. They just need to play better.

Perhaps there is a case for Stuart Broad, the captain, batting lower than No 8, but that seems unlikely. Luke Wright is a potential draftee but a bowler would have to make way and at the moment Jade Dernbach and Steven Finn are considered key cogs.

South Africa
It could be argued that it was IPL experience which proved key for South Africa in the north east, a bitter point for the England management on the same day they effectively ended Kevin Pietersen's international career over a spat which began with his demand to play more in the tournament.

Dale Steyn and Johan Botha were brilliantly economical, going at 3.25 and 4.75 respectively while JP Duminy and Jacques Kallis, both stalwarts of IPL middle-orders, got the batting out of a hole.

Venue and conditions
Our luck is in for the second match running in the gloomy north: no rain forecast. The average first dig score from a paltry three matches at Old Trafford is 144. Last year England chased down 166 set by India. Certainly more than 160 looks unlikely this time around.

Match odds
It would be easy for England to throw the baby out with the bath water following South Africa's comprehensive win in Durham by seven wickets. Punters likewise who followed them at decent odds against.

But it would be reactionary in the extreme to write off the hosts, despite the last defeat being their fifth in eight against a blooming Proteas this summer.

There were hints of England getting to grips with the game in Durham. Craig Kieswetter got them off to a decent start with the bat and then, after a disappointing collapse, England looked dangerous when reducing South Africa to 29 for three.

It means that at the very least England are worth support at 2.226/5 for a back-to-lay, some drift from the 2.1211/10 they were before the first Twenty20. South Africa are skinny at 1.784/5 and we rarely touch such thin offerings in this format.

Top England batsman
Confidence could be a little thin on the ground in the England batting camp after they struggled to 118. But Eoin Morgan is a man whose confidence is always hight in this format and he is the man to follow for those who want to play this market. Last time out on this ground he hit 49 from 27 balls to top score against India.

Top South Africa batsman
It is difficult to see past Kallis when he opens and delivers with a classy performance. He will be prohibitively short, of course, so perhaps Richard Levi, his opening partner, who has the ability to go off like a rocket, could be an exciting alternative.

Recommended bet
Bac-to-lay England at 2.226/5

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