South Africa vs England 1st T20 Match Prediction
England and South Africa turn their attentions to fine-tuning their squads for the ICC T20 World Cup, with the tourists welcoming back a clutch of star players, all of whom were rested for the ODI series. The T20i series starts at Buffalo Park, East London, on February 12 and the live action starts at 18:00 local time.
England have Ben Stokes, Mark Wood and Jos Buttler back in the squad as they look to build on their 3-2 series win against New Zealand in their last series in this format.
South Africa, meanwhile, have resisted the urge to recall AB de Villiers, but Dale Steyn does make his return to the international fold. Quinton de Kock will lead the team once more, having been named Player of the Series for the ODI leg of this tour.
England won the toss in the last two ODI matches and all four test matches so South Africa are due this one. They may elect to field first this time out.
East London is set to back in hot and sunny conditions on Wednesday, though the wind will whip up too.
If the wicket is fast at Buffalo Park, the runs will flow thanks to the small boundaries too.
The Test series lost and the ODI series drawn skipper Quinton de Kock would now look at his players to deliver a stellar show as they get started with the 3-match T20 series. It is the only format where the side has been doing well in the last couple of years after having dropped in form and competitiveness in the Tests and ODIs. But the side is up against a very strong batting line-up and they will need to play out of their skins to win this game. With few exciting players in the squad, Quinton de Kock will look to dominate in this game.
Quinton de Kock is in great form and the side will look at him to provide a good start. His opening partner Reeza Hendricks needs to deliver in this game. The middle-order has good hitters of the ball in Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and Temba Bavuma and these players will need to lay a strong platform for the likes of JJ Smuts and Andile Phehlukwayo to use the long handle towards the end of the innings. Dale Steyn’s return to the side is a big plus after the form he showed in Big Bash League. Along with Lungi Ngidi, he will look to grab early wickets. Beuran Hendricks has done well in this format and along with Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi, the bowling attack looks well balanced for the side going into this game.
Eoin Morgan would be happy with the way his side played in the last ODI to draw the series. The ODI World Champions haven’t had the best of run in T20 cricket. While they rank high they haven’t been as consistent as they have been in ODI cricket. In fact, they have a poor record in South Africa and have defeated the side only once in 5 games played here. This is something the skipper will like to improve as they go into the first game of the series. Having already gotten under the skins of the hosts on this tour Morgan would count on his powerful batting line-up to deliver in this game and win it.
The side will rely on the proven opening pair of Jason Roy and Jos Buttler to provide them with a good start. Both these players have excellent hitting abilities and shall look to destroy the South African bowlers. Morgan, Dawid Malan, and Jonny Bairstow add to the strength of the side in the middle order. Joe Denly, Sam Curran and Tom Curran add to their batting resources down the order. Switching over to the bowling and here Chris Jordan and Tom Curran will need to pick early wickets. It is the top order where their opponents are strong. Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid add variety to the bowling attack for the side. They will look to trouble the South Africans with spin bowling in the game.
Our Prediction for South Africa vs England
England shall win the game
With the ODI series leveled the action now shifts to Buffalo Park, East London where host South Africa would take on England in the 1st T20 game. Betting sites in India already consider the English side as the overwhelming favorites to win the game. They bat deep and the side has good hitters of the ball. But the visitor has a poor record playing T20 cricket in South Africa and this will give a psychological advantage to the hosts. The South African team has done well at home in T20 cricket and they will look to make the best out of their resources. It is definitely going to be a good contest between the bat and the ball.
The sides match closely in terms of their bowling resources but England with their stronger batting line-up will start as favorites in this game.