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Ken Borland

What has to go right for South Africa to beat England?

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

South Africa are looking to beat England for the first time in six outings in Sharjah on Saturday for a possible semi-final place in the T20 World Cup. A lot has to go right for the Proteas to upset the form book and win against the undisputed tournament favourites.

Ken Borland highlights four occurrences that will probably need to happen for Temba Bavuma’s spirited team to prevail.

  1. Quinton de Kock to fire at the top of the order – It’s been a rough tournament for the wicketkeeper/batsman. His bizarre dismissal against Australia was followed by his equally baffling decision not to take a knee and rather withdraw from the match against the West Indies. He has not passed 50 in any T20 match in eight innings, but he looks in form. De Kock is due and he is undoubtedly a potential matchwinner for South Africa.
  2. Heavy dew after winning the toss & bowling first – Sharjah is known for its dew and it would be a marvellous early Christmas present for Bavuma if he could win the toss and elect to bat second. No-one would suggest England’s impressive attack are ill-equipped to handle a damp ball, but if South Africa can set themselves up to chase 140-150, and De Kock gets going, it would give the Proteas serious hope.
  3. A pitch that is really tough for batting – England like to play aggressive T20 cricket, setting matches up with their dashing batsmen going hard from the outset. But if the pitch is a bit of a snakepit, say like the one the Dutch were bowled out for 44 on less than a month ago at Sharjah, then it could take them out of their comfort zone. They adapted brilliantly against Sri Lanka at the start of the week, but what if the pitch is even tougher and Jos Buttler fails? South Africa have the spinners to hound them in the middle overs.
  4. Fired up new-ball bursts by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje – Rabada was superb in the win over Bangladesh and Nortje is enjoying a magnificent World Cup. But if something can get them really cross before the England innings and they come out really firing, England could lose a couple of wickets in the powerplay to their sheer pace.

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