England came back from their Champions Trophy defeat to Pakistan fantastically on Wednesday night, beating South Africa by nine wickets in the first of their three T20 Internationals.
I was really surprised by South Africa – I thought they were going to come out all guns blazing, and I expected more from them.
Let’s face it though, England gave them an absolute mauling. We were in complete control, restricting them to 142 runs, which they were held to with some top fielding and bowling. 142 really isn’t a competitive score and with England taking wickets so early on, The Proteas were always faced with an uphill task – now-a-days in T20, a run a game ain’t good enough!
For England to beat South Africa with more than five overs to spare just shows that Eoin Morgan’s side were in complete control. Alex Hales had another solid knock and Jonny Bairstow was just first class, hitting shots all around the wicket.
Jason Roy was back in the side and he’ll be glad to get a few runs on the board (28), but he’d be disappointed to be dismissed by LBW. It’s good that he’s amongst the runs and he’ll be looking to put his best foot forward in an England shirt and kick on from here.
You could argue that South Africa were missing some of their big guns, like Rabada and Quinton de Kock, but that’s no excuse really, because there were new faces in both sides.
I was particularly pleased with Hampshire leg-spinner, Mason Crane, who made his international debut for England on Wednesday and I think he put in a positive performance in the middle overs.
Looking ahead to tonight’s match then and I think it’ll be the same again: a comfortable England win.
It’s hard to pick a top run scorer for England because their batting line up is so strong that you can’t see anyone below the top four at the crease. We don’t know for sure who’s going to be playing tonight, but it would be hard to ignore Bairstow (4/1) or Hales (10/3), simply because of the form they’re in and how in control they were on Wednesday night.
From an England bowling perspective, again, if he features, Mark Wood is at the top of his game, so at 3/1 to be England’s top wicket taker, I’d fancy that bet for sure.
I was on the money on Wednesday, where AB de Villiers pipped Behardien by a run to be The Proteas’ top run scorer. I’m looking forward to seeing JJ Smuts tonight, the young South African lad.
Smuts is a bit of a biffer and was bowled out on the first ball of the game on Wednesday and if he features tonight, I think we’ll see him being a bit of a blaster – at 7/2, he could be a good shout to be South Africa’s top run scorer.
England will be going into this T20 match full of confidence and we’re hoping for the same again: a solid England win ahead of the Test Series.
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