Their rankings may be a little far apart, but there was little separating South Africa and England when they locked horns on Friday night. It was the kind of classic clash we’ve come to expect from these two teams, and although the hosts lost, they had plenty of pluses to take home. Between a spirited South African inning, a poor start for the English, and their eventual comeback and victory, there’s plenty to mull over as we take a look back for 5 talking points from the first T20I between South Africa and England.
1. Form du Plessis
While the rest of his team was busy floundering, Faf du Plessis was the one player on Chennai Super Kings who did his job as best he could. Now back to playing for his country, the 36-year-old seems to still be in excellent form as he top scored with 58. He’s a truly inspiring figure, and if his teammates can follow his example, South Africa will be back near the top of the rankings where they belonged for so long.
2. Sam Curran and the other English bowlers
The young star is powering his way up the all-rounder rankings with good performance after good performance. Although he didn’t get the time to bat for long, he was incredible with the ball as he took 3 for 28 from his 4 overs. Jofra Archer also did well with identical figures but with two less wickets, and Adil Rashid was similarly economical without striking. Chris Jordan and Sam’s brother Tom, however, were expensive as has sadly become usual for them.
3. With his Bair hands
Jonny Bairstow is something of a hit-or-miss player, but when he hits, boy does he hit. When England were looking troubled at 34-3 after 5.3 overs, he began playing a Pollard-esque inning, getting 86 from only 48 and taking the troubled visitors to victory. He had some support from Ben Stokes, but scoring almost 50% of your team’s total runs is quite a feat, and it was instrumental to his team’s victory.
4. Upcoming talent for the Proteas
Despite the loss, Quinton de Kock and Cricket South Africa have a number of talents with little international experience who performed admirably. Rassie van der Dussen and George Linde played well on Friday, and although Heinrich Klaasen couldn’t do much, he certainly has the ability to. Add Lungi Ngidi to that, and if South Africa get their act together and put an end to their lifelong choking habits, they might become a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
5. Things both teams need to address
For the Proteas, the lack of form Temba Bavuma has been showing is alarming, and a replacement might be a good option. We’re not sure what Pite van Biljon’s role in the team is, but we’re sure he’s not fulfilling it. Beuran Hendricks had a bad game, but has the scope to improve. For England, Jason Roy needs a little more consistency, and moving Jos Buttler up the order doesn’t seem to have worked. Eoin Morgan seems to be coming too low down the order to make more of an impact, as is Sam Curran. Lastly, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan really need to cut down their economy rates by bowling tighter lines and lengths.
What’s next for South Africa and England?
England retain their top spot on the rankings with this win, but South Africa can still take the series away from them. As cricket lovers, we want to see South Africa win it and take the result to the third game, but England obviously wouldn’t want that. It would be somewhat humiliating for the home side to lose two T20I series to the same team at home in the same calendar year, so hopefully they’ll come up with something special when the two meet again at the Boland Park in Paarl at 6PM IST on Saturday, November 29th.
How our predictions went
South Africa won neither the toss nor the match, but Faf du Plessis was the top batsman. Dawid Malan, Ngidi, and Archer all disappointed in their departments, as did Bavuma, Malan again, and Stokes for the 50s. As for boundaries, England took the majority of both.