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South Africa vs England 3rd T20I Preview: De Kock-led Proteas have point to prove in dead rubber

Jonny Bairstow with South Africa's Quinton de Kock
Jonny Bairstow with South Africa's Quinton de Kock

With an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the 3-match T20I series, England have now been unbeaten in eight consecutive series, winning seven of them while drawing level in one.

LIVE - South Africa vs England 2020 - 3rd T20I

England continue to find that vital extra

There were situations in both the first two matches of the series when things could have gone wrong for England but every time there arises a crunch situation, England seem to have that extra trick up their sleeve which South Africa don't and that has been the difference between the two sides in the series till now.

In the opening encounter, chasing 180, England were in a spot of bother at 34/3 within the powerplay when they found the man for the job in Jonny Bairstow. Despite batting out of position at number 4, he struck an unbeaten 86 off 48 deliveries to change the complexion of the match. Bairstow's knock came on the back of a brilliant bowling effort from all-rounder Sam Curran.

In the second T20I as well, with the quick dismissals of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes and a tricky pitch in Paarl, the match could have gone either way. However, skipper Eoin Morgan came out all guns blazing and remained unbeaten on 26 off just 17 deliveries at a strike rate of over 150. He scored those crucial 5-10 extra runs towards the end which made the target quite comfortable for England in the last 2 overs, despite the victory finally coming on the penultimate delivery.

Dawid Malan played his part well. He was initially struggling to find his timing and had managed just 29 off his first 31 deliveries. He then turned the tide with 26 off his following 9 deliveries as the pendulum swung in England's favour.

Pie shared by England bowlers

It was an all-round bowling performance from England in the second T20I. Sam Curran and Ben Stokes bowled two overs each and remained wicketless. All the other four bowlers who bowled four overs each picked up at least one wicket, with all of them being economical, with the exception of Tom Curran.

Adil Rashid was brilliant yet again with figures of 4-0-23-2 and with the diminishing returns of Moeen Ali, Rashid remains vital to England's white-ball plans.

De Kock-led SA need to push harder

While England have found something extra from their reserves to dish out in tight situations, South Africa have been lacking the same. It is not as if they have played bad cricket but that killer punch has been lacking.

One has to give them the benefit of the doubt with several of their players playing for the first time after the forced Covid-19 break. But, in their home conditions, South Africa were expected to do a little bit better.

And who better to set the tone than skipper Quinton de Kock. The captain has got starts in both the first two T20s but has failed to convert them. If he can manage to get a quick half-century, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen and George Linde will then have the opportunity to go all out.

Proteas should persist with picked XI

South Africa managed to squeeze in Anrich Nortje in their playing XI in the last match, with the inclusion of Reeza Hendricks in the batting order in place of Pite van Biljon.

The team that they played in the last match looks their best bet unless they want to have a look at David Miller or Andile Phehlukwayo.

Opportunities for Billings and Moeen?

With Moeen Ali having already been dropped, the only weak link in the England line-up currently seems to be Tom Curran. There is a case for Mark Wood coming back into the side in his place.

Moeen Ali and Sam Billings can also be given a go in the dead rubber to keep their confidence high.

Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:

England - Jos Buttler(wk), Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali/Sam Curran, Tom Curran/Mark Wood, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid

South Africa - Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock(c & wk), Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi

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