ICC WT20: England Come Up Against Unbeaten Proteas
England v South Africa, Trent Bridge, 16:30 GMT - covered by Cricket World® Radio, our Live Blog and ball-by-ball.
By Aaron Kumar
|Key man - Albie Morkel
© Action Images
England meet South Africa later today at Trent Bridge as the Super Eight stage of the ICC World Twenty20 begins. South Africa have been one of the most impressive outfits in the competition so far, and with the inclusion of the warm-up matches, they are the only team to remain unbeaten in the tournament to date.
England, on the other hand, have endured mixed fortunes so far. The hosts were embarrassed by rank outsiders the Netherlands on the first day of the competition before they hit back by comprehensively beating Pakistan, who were runners-up last time around to ensure their place in the last eight.
South Africa and England met in the Super Eights of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa, and on that occasion South Africa appeared to be struggling on 91-5 in the 15th over but some brutal hitting from Albie Morkel (43 from 20 balls) which included three sixes in an over off the bowling of Chris Schofield enabled South Africa to post a competitive total of 154. This proved to be enough as South Africa emerged victorious by 19 runs.
Since that encounter, Morkel has established himself as one of the biggest hitters in world cricket, he is also a very useful seam bowler and he was often trusted with the new ball, by when he played for the Chennai Super Kings in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).
According to Graeme Smith, having the IPL in South Africa gave players like Morkel the opportunity to have a leading role in a big competition and he believes that will stand them in good stead for this tournament.
"The fact that a lot of our guys played prominent roles within the IPL, the fact that it was in South Africa probably pushed our guys to the forefront," he said.
"To be playing this tournament coming into this tournament, with the guys learning more about the format and having the opportunity to play it a little bit more is always nice. At international level there is limited opportunity - it is largely a domestic based competition so from our perspective to have our players learning more and more about the game is nice."
England on the other hand will be looking to their new opening partnership of Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright to continue their good form, while James Anderson will be hoping he can repeat some of his success against South Africa in other forms of the game and if England’s middle order clicks as it did against Pakistan and they are able to capitalise on a good start, then a major upset could yet be possible in a tournament which has already seen a few eyebrows raised.
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