Game Preview: South Africa vs England | 1st T20I


With two World T20's just around the corner, you could argue that the main event is about to start. Eoin Morgan has confirmed that the best XI will play, and England will want to start moulding their World Cup squad ahead of the first tournament in Australia this October.


Here we preview game one of the three game series.


Game Details


Venue: Buffalo Park, East London, South Africa

Time: 4:00pm GMT

Coverage: Watch on Sky Sports, listen on Talk Sport 2


Weather Forecast

England Team News


England welcome back Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Mark Wood who were all rested for the recent ODI series that ended 1-1. There was no space for Joe Root in the team and England have also lost Joffra Archer and Pat Brown to earlier injuries.


South Africa Team News


South Africa welcome back Dale Steyn. The team will now be captained by Quinton de Kock. He'll be joined at the top of the order by Reeza Hendrinks and Temba Bavuma, with Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller providing the middle order strength. Rabada has been rested for the T20's, so South Africa will rely on Ngidi, Pretorious and spinner Shamsi.


My Starting England XI:


1) Jos Buttler


T20I stats: 26.81 average, 138.31 strike rate

Opening: 52.80 average, 160.00 strike rate


I know some people won't like splitting up Roy and Bairstow, and I wouldn't dream of it in ODI's, however in T20 the stats show that Jos is dominant during the power play.


2) Jonny Bairstow


T20I stats: 26.22 average, 134.00 strike rate

Opening: 29.57 average, 153.33 strike rate


When having to choose between Bairstow and Roy, I've gone with Bairstow. Jonny can take the game away from you very quickly and I can't imagine many bowlers wanting to bowl to Bairstow and Buttler with our 2 fielders outside the circle.


3) Dawid Malan


T20I stats: 57.25 average, 156.31 strike rate

Batting 3rd: 70.60 average, 162.67 strike rate


We wrote yesterday that we think Malan is extremely underrated. At first drop he has been sensational for England, it's just a shame he hasn't been given the chance to shine. Hopefully he gets a good chance to stake his claim today.


4) Eoin Morgan


T20I stats: 29.88 average, 135.73 strike rate

Batting 4th: 26.40 average, 136.91 strike rate


The captain is due a knock and I wouldn't put it past him getting one today. He's in his normal spot of #4.


5) Ben Stokes


T20I Stats: 15.47 average, 130.34 strike rate

Batting 5th: 19.60 average, 116.67 strike rate

Bowling economy: 8.91


Will be good to see Ben Stokes back in the team, we'll see him with bat and ball, he's never really had that monumental knock for England in T20's yet with a high score of 38. It's coming.


6) Moeen Ali


T20I stats: 14.69 average, 118.69 strike rate

Batting 6th: 27.00 average, 245.45 strike rate

Bowling economy: 8.62


Moeen looked really good with the ball in the ODI's and we all know he has the ability to put runs on the ball quickly when needed. You don't want Mo coming in having to secure an innings, you want him coming in to swing.


7) Sam Curran


T20I stats: 11.67 average, 152.17 strike rate

Batting 7th: N/A

Bowling economy: 8.50


I have my doubts about Curran in T20, but I'd like to see him given a go considering he offers something a little different with his left arm angle and we've seen him hit a few out of the park, so he's a nice fit for the #7 role in here.


8) Tom Curran


T20I stats: 18.00 average, 133.33 strike rate

Batting 8th: 28.00 average, 133.33 strike rate

Bowling economy: 8.71


When it comes to T20, Tom is the more proven of the Curran brothers. A decent enough economy rate, good variations and he can swing the bat as well. A very decent #8.


9) Chris Jordan


T20I stats: 15.43 average, 130.12 strike rate

Batting 9th: 9.67 average, 138.10 strike rate

Bowling economy: 8.58


Jordan is a great guy to have around the team, he's taken some big wickets for England he'll be one of the best fielders on any pitch. Over the course of the T20's I'd like to see Mahmood given a go, but the first one I'm sticking with Jordan.


10) Mark Wood


T20I stats: 5.00 average, 83.33 strike rate

Batting 10th: N/A

Bowling ecnomy: 8.46


It's exciting to have Mark Wood fit and raring to go. He hasn't played a huge amount of T20 cricket for England but his raw pace has a place in this set-up. He also showed during the test match he can score quickly when needed.


11) Adil Rashid


T20I stats: 7.29 average, 83.61 strike rate

Batting 11th: 4.00 average, 100.00 strike rate

Bowling economy: 7.52


You hope you don't get down to Rashid for batting. He's our best T20I bowler and seeing him cowl with extra pace in the ODI series makes me believe his shoulder is feeling a lot better.


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