Having secured a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against hosts South Africa, England will look to seal the deal when the teams come face-to-face in the second game at Paarl on Sunday.
In the high-scoring first encounter at Cape Town, South Africa posted a competitive 179 for 6, but England chased it down without too much trouble in the end.
South Africa would rue the fact that they could not reach 200 after being 83 for 1 in the 10th over. They will need to find better firepower in the bottom half of the innings.
As for England, they will be pleased with both their batting and bowling effort. The top three failed in the chase. However, the visitors had enough batting might to see them through.
The win at Cape Town means both sides have an equal 9-9 share in the head-to-head record.
As South Africa and England gear up for the second T20I, here are three-player battles to watch out for.
Top 3 player battles in England vs South Africa 2nd T20I
#1. Jonny Bairstow vs George Linde
Experienced England batsman Jonny Bairstow played an excellent knock at Cape Town and lifted his team out of trouble after three early wickets.
The versatile Bairstow, who usually opens the innings, came in at number four in the first match and proved to be equally effective. Bairstow played a stupendous knock of 86 from 48 balls to take England home in what, at the start, was a tense chase.
South African all-rounder George Linde made a memorable debut at Cape Town. The left-arm spinner had Jason Roy caught behind in the very first over of the chase.
Linde then enticed the world’s number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan into a false stroke, making his presence felt in no uncertain terms. With figures of 2 for 20, he was South Africa’s best bowler of the day.
Although Bairstow has a definite edge in this battle, Linde can be expected to compete.
#2. Faf du Plessis vs Sam Curran
Former South African captain Faf du Plessis carried on from where he left off in the IPL at Newlands. Having lost Temba Bavuma early, du Plessis came in and played some fine strokes to lift the Proteas along with skipper Quinton de Kock.
Du Plessis’ half-century featured four fours and two sixes, and he struck the ball cleanly. The hosts will be keen for the experienced batsman to carry on his good form as they look to stay alive in the series.
Sam Curran has been one of England’s most effective T20I bowlers in recent times. At Cape Town as well, he excelled with figures of 3 for 28, with one of his three victims being du Plessis.
Having played with each other at CSK, Curran and du Plessis would have known more about each other. With the England bowler having won the previous battle, du Plessis will be keen to get one back.
#3. Ben Stokes vs Kagiso Rabada
Batting in the middle-order, the dangerous Ben Stokes will have the responsibility of giving the finishing touches to the England innings.
Stokes did his job pretty efficiently at Cape Town. His 37 from 27 with the help of three sixes saw England fightback from a troubled start as he and Bairstow featured in a game-changing partnership.
Towards the end of the innings, Stokes can find an equal in Kagiso Rabada. The South Africa pacer could not make the desired impact in the first game.
Rabada will be keen to lift his game with the series on the line. If he gets his yorkers right at the death, the South African pacer has the ability to keep Stokes quiet.Published 28 Nov 2020, 18:35 IST