T20 World Cup 2024: England batters look to tame strong South African bowling

That the winner here will have their one foot in the semifinals of this ICC showpiece will come as an additional motivation.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 09:35 IST

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Gros Islet: If their authoritative win against the West Indies is a sign, England batters seemed to have found their cloak of invincibility at the right time and they will eye an encore against a formidable South African bowling unit in a Group-2 match of the T20 World Cup Super 8s here on Friday.

England were at their menacing best against the Windies, while handing them a crushing eight-wicket defeat here that has also fired them to the top of the group through a better Net Run Rate -- +1.34 against SA's +0.90.

That the winner here will have their one foot in the semifinals of this ICC showpiece will come as an additional motivation.

South Africa, on the other hand, suffered a scare from the USA before they squeezed out an 18-run win in their Super Eight opener.

English opener Phil Salt showed why he is the No. 2 T20I batter in the world when he steered a tricky 181-run chase, mixing caution and aggression en route an unbeaten 87.

Salt would once again look to give England an explosive start along with his skipper Jos Buttler, who will be eyeing some runs under his belt.

Buttler, who scored a 42 in their loss to Australia in the group stage, has not been able to convert his starts with just 91 runs from four innings.

The return to form of Jonny Bairstow, who struck a crucial 48 not out against the West Indies, will also be a big boost for England.

Bairstow had scored just 46 runs with two single digit dismissals in this tournament.

But he used all his experience for the big match against the West Indies when he seized the momentum with his counter-attacking approach.

The challenge for the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj will be to prevent the England batters from running away with the match.

The South African duo showed exceptional control and discipline in the middle and death overs to seal a fine win against the USA, who failed to chase 28 runs from the last two overs.

The biggest positive for South Africa is Quinton de Kock rediscovering his form. Following his poor outings with the bat -- 20, 0, 18 and 10 -- so far, De Kock smashed a 40-ball 74 against the USA.

England will also have a better idea of the conditions having already played against the West Indies here.

"We've still got a couple more games to win. Different venue, different surfaces. Never know what you're going to get out there," De Kock had said after the match against the US.

While Salt and Bairstow dominated with the bat, the English bowlers also showed how to bowl on a placid track, while bowling 52 dot balls that prevented the West Indies from posting a second successive 200-plus total.

Adil Rashid was phenomenal with an economy of 5.25, while Jofra Archer also contained the Windies batters with 12 dot balls.

It denied Windies at least 20 runs, and English duo will look to tighten the noose against the likes of De Kock and Heinrich Klaasen.

"We bowled well to restrict a powerful batting line-up. Now, it's important to put this to bed and focus (on the next match)," said Buttler.

Teams (from)

England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley and Mark Wood.

South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi and Tristan Stubbs.

Published 20 June 2024, 09:35 IST

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