SA v ENG 3rd T20I Preview: Death bowling the key as Centurion braces for decider
There is a case for Dawid Malan to be included in place of Joe Denly in the decider. The inclusion of Bjorn Fortuin helps South Africa cover two bases, bowling spin in the powerplay and batting at No. 8 and they are expected to stick to him.
Venue - SuperSport Park, Centurion
Start time - 12:30 PM GMT | 02:30 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in T20Is - South Africa: 9 England: 7 Tied: 0 No Result: 1
Weather - Sunny, 30°C, Precipitation: 0%, Humidity: 33%, Wind: 13 km/h
Unlike East London and Durban, where the first two T20Is of the series were played, the SuperSport Park in Centurion is a high-scoring venue with an average scores of 173 for the team batting first. The highest score here is 241, scored by South Africa against England itself, which gives an indication of the true nature of the surface.
Interestingly, the team batting first has an advantage on this surface - quite contrary to the modern trend - with them having won 7 while the team batting second having won only 2 of the total 9 T20Is played here.
Death bowling the difference between two sides
The 2nd T20I between South Africa and England was won and lost in the death overs, as most T20s are. While England were excellent at the death, Moeen Ali with the bat and Chris Jordan and Tom Curran with the ball, South Africa struggled to push the scoring rate in the death overs. While Lungi Ngidi and Beuran Hendricks leaked runs, Jon Jon Smuts failed to capitalise with bat in hand.
In the first half of the match, it was Moeen Ali's innings which made the difference between a 180-run below-par score and 200 + good total for England. Moin clobbered 39 runs off just 11 deliveries with 3 fours and 4 sixes, at a sensational strike rate of over 350.
The all-rounder took Hendricks for 21 runs in the 17th over, striking 2 sixes and 1 four. Next up, Lungi Ngidi also conceded 1 six and 2 fours to the stylish left-hander. Assisted by some clean striking from Ben Stokes, England collected 28 runs off the last two overs and 79 off the last five.
On the contrary, England's prime weapon at the death, Chris Jordan, put a squeeze on South Africa. He began the 17th oven in style, taking two wickets in two balls and stunted the momentum of the South African chase.
To add to that, he finished the over with just five runs and changed the face of the game. Mark Wood was expensive in the 18th over and gave away 19 but Jordan came back well with an 11-run over, including a boundary that came off the edge.
With 15 required off the last over and three required off the last two deliveries, Tom Curran did an excellent job of nailing a yorker and then trusting his instinct with the back-of-the-hand slower delivery to hand England a narrow win.
Malan can be considered for Denly
Had the series been decided, a slew of changes would have been made in this game. But, with the series level at 1-1 and the decider set to be played at Centurion, both teams will stick to their best XI.
While England did not make any changes, South Africa brought in spinner Bjourn Fortuin in place of Dale Steyn in the last game. The South African team management was looking to cover two aspects with this change. One, the all-rounder helps to bolster the batting, providing them an option at No. 8. Two, with Jon Jon Smuts having given away more than 20 runs in the last game, South Africa was looking at a spinner in the powerplay who could contain and Fortuin did that role decently well.
For England, after his twin failures, there is a case for Dawid Malan to be included in place of Joe Denly.
Another nail-biter on the cards
Apart from the death bowling, there is not much that separates the two teams. Both are top heavy and find themselves in a spot of bother when the top order does not get them off to a good start. Both have explosive wicketkeepers at the top of the order and after the last game, both are operating with two spinners.
Both the matches of the series till now have gone right down to the wire, with the matches being decided on the final delivery. With the series on the line in Centurion, another hard-fought encounter is expected.
Here's a 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, Bjourn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks/Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi
England - Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Tom 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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