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SA v ENG 2nd T20I Preview: England try to get 'combinations' right on Valentine's


Tom Curran is the only England bowler whose spot is under the scanner and England might consider replacing him with Sam Curran for this game.

Venue - Kingsmead, Durban

Start time - 04:00 PM GMT | 06:00 PM LOCAL

Head to Head record in T20Is - South Africa: 9 England: 6 Tied: 0 No Result: 1

Weather - Mostly Sunny, 29°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 73%, Wind: 19 km/h

England hold record for highest T20I total at Kingsmead

The Kingsmead stadium in Durban is set to host a T20I after a long time. The last time a T20 International was played at this venue was back in 2016. The average score batting first here in T20Is is 148, which is not that high. In domestic T20 matches, the scenario is not much different with the average score batting first being 154.

This suggests that the game will again be around 170, unless one of the batters of the ilk of Jason Roy or Quinton de Kock go berserk.

As far as the T20Is go, the toss does not seem to make much of a difference here with the team batting first and the team batting second having won six times each. The highest score at this ground was made by England - 218/4 back in 2007.

Ngidi and Shamsi key for Proteas

While the likes of Buren Hendricks and JJ Smuts travelled the distance, Lungi Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi stood out for South Africa. Shamsi may not have picked up a wicket but he was extremely measured in his approach and with figures of 4-25-0, he had a big role to play in the first match of the series.

Lungi Ngidi came to his own in the last couple of overs of the innings. When the pacer had first started out, he was seen as a hit the deck bowler who could bowl tight line and lengths and make a mark if there is help on offer. But, he has worked very hard on his death bowling skills in the last couple of years and that was evident in East London.

With just seven runs to defend off the last over, Ngidi chose the slower one as his top weapon and stuck to it. It was his off-cutter which brought about the dismissals of Tom Curran and Moeen Ali. He will be crucial to the team's chances in this game as well.

England have got their batting order wrong

Jason Roy's place was under a bit of threat before the beginning of the series. There was also a possibility of Jonny Bairstow partnering Jos Buttler at the top of the order and Dawid Malan coming in at one drop. However, Morgan stuck to the explosive opener and Roy responded in typical fashion with a 71-run knock at a strike rate of close to 185.

While Bairstow and Morgan batting at 3 and 4 is understandable, it was a questionable tactic to send Joe Denly at number five ahead of Ben Stokes. Through most of his career, Denly has batted in the top 4 and England's bid to fashion him as the finisher is a bit of a force fit.

Ben Stokes is more than capable of batting at 5 and Moeen Ali seems an ideal number 6. The team would be much better off to take the all-round services of Sam Curran, who can also hit the long ball towards the end.

A swap for the Curran brothers

Courtesy of openers Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock, South Africa got off to a flyer in the first T20I with them racing to 105 in the first 10 overs. It were Tom Curran and Mark Wood who went the distance.

However, the visitors, courtesy of excellent bowling from spin twins Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, pulled the match back as the home team managed only 72 in the second half of the innings. Chris Jordan's death over heroics meant that South Africa scored only 17 off the final three overs.

While all the other bowlers justified their role in the team and Mark Wood is likely to get a long rope given his pace and wicket-taking ability, Tom Curran is the only bowler whose spot is under the scanner. England might consider replacing him with Sam Curran for this game.

Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:

South Africa - Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, JJ Smuts, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi

England - Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Joe Denly, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood

This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:

UK: Sky Sports Cricket

South Africa: SuperSport

India & Subcontinent: Sony Network

Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN

USA: Willow TV, Hotstar

Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD

Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD

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