South Africa v England T20 Tips: England may need to step on the gas

Quinton De Kock
De Kock needs to set the tone

Ed Hawkins has the best bets from game one in Cape Town on Friday with the tourists expected to overpower their hosts...

"The series earlier in the year was a runfest. Taking big prices about England chasing a target in the bracket of 180-210 is solid"

Back England in-play chasing 180-210 at 1.9010/11 or better

South Africa v England
Friday November 27 16.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Hosts need to attack

South African form over the last two years is patchy, winning seven from 14. They have lost six of their last eight, however, losing series to England and Australia by 2-1 scorelines.

They are a team in transition, with relatively new skip Quinton de Kock trying to stamp his authority. If they can follow his example as an attacking, fearless player they will be fine. The postponed World T20 will benefit them.

De Kock and Temba Bavuma will have to fire at the top of the order in the same way they did against England at the start of the year. What let them down in that series was profligate bowling. They are the most expensive team in the field in the last 12 months.

We don't expect that to change. But England beware, Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada are one of the most potent fast bowling duos in the international game.

Possible XI De Kock, Bavuma, Du Plessis, Klaasen, Miller, van Biljon, Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, Rabada, Ngidi, Nortje

Buttler opens

England coach Chris Silverwood has confirmed that Jos Buttler will open the batting - a move that will delight Graeme Swann - surely once and for all putting to bed the idea that he is going to be adapted to a finisher role. That means one from Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy will have to miss out.

Silverwood should have also confirmed that Dawid Malan, their best and most reliable T20 player, would retain his place at No 3. That ridiculous debate has started again just because Joe Root (not even in the T20 squad) had a hit and giggle in a warm-up.

Tom Curran looks likely to pip his brother, Sam, for the available No 7 slot. And Mark Wood could start the series as enforcer alongside Jofra Archer. Expect Reece Topley to get a game at some stage.

Possible XI Buttler, Bairstow, Malan, Stokes, Morgan, Moeen, T Curran, Jordan, Rashid, Archer, Wood

Pitch report

The Newlands toss bias in ODI is reversed in T20. Whereas chasing under lights in 50-overs its tough, there's no problem in the shorter format. Seven from 13 have been won by the chaser with one tie. South Africa have a poor record, winning only four of 12. They were thrashed by Australia at the venue in February, conceding 193 and then being bowled out for just 95.

As for innings runs, 160 would appear to be a minimum given run rates (all conditions) in the past three years - 7.9 last year, 7.8 in 2018 and 8.3 in 2017. In those 13 matches under lights, 150 has been busted seven times. The first-innings scores in the Mzansi Super League (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) last year read: 173-1/157-1/181-2/163-1/183-1. No rain is forecast at the moment.

Trade in-play

England are hot favourites at 1.674/6 with South Africa 2.486/4. Although the tourists are better balanced, with round pegs in round holes all the way down to No 11, it is difficult to rate them as value.

South Africa could be blown away for under 100, they could post 190 and fail to defend or Ngidi and Rabada could combine to knock England's poles over. What will be interesting is their intent. Gung-ho is the way to go even if the No 7 slot for them is a problem.

Ideally, we would trade South Africa batting first into 1.705/7 with a big score on the board. And then England would chase it. The series earlier in the year was a runfest. Taking big prices about England chasing a target in the bracket of 180-210 is solid.

Tops value

De Kock has had his price boosted to 13/5 by Sportsbook for top SA bat. But look out for Bavuma. Don't forget he took a liking to England's attack and matched De Kock shot for shot. We expect him to open so the 7/2 is already big.

Malan is consistent value at 4/1 for England honours. He has a 50% win rate over the last two years and is, frankly, extraordinary. Buttler is also boosted to 13/5.


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