About the Match
South Africa defeated England in the first T20 match by 3 wickets to take a 1-0 series lead; they will now battle it out for the title when they meet for the 2nd T20 at Johannesburg on 21st February. The nail-biting finish in the last match saw the Protean lower order batsmen hold their nerves together to reach the target of 135 runs just in nick of time, avoiding the game to into the super-over. England is desperate for a comeback win here after losing the ODI series despite a powerful all-round performance by batsmen and bowlers; the upcoming match will definitely be crucial for the visitors to prove themselves while South Africa will leave no stone unturned to win the series.
Chris Morris, who has been in tremendous form with the bat, scored 12 runs in the last over to snatch victory from the English in the first T20 match on Friday; despite losing regular wickets, the Proteans successfully chased down 135 runs to get the upper hand in the 2-match T20 series. Earlier, it was Imran Tahir who took 4-21 to demolish the opposition while Abbott, Rabada and Wiese supported well with consistent wickets and restrict England to 134.
Amla, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy contributed with 20+ runs each while Russouw and Miller tried to steady the middle order; however, the match hung by a thread as it was left to Morris to score the winning runs and he did it in superb style in a last-ball clincher. They will need to come out all guns blazing in the upcoming match and try to post a competitive total if batting first.
The bowling effort has been good by experienced players like Tahir, Abbott and David Wiese while Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada can be ruthless with their wicket-taking skills. They have a well-balanced team with in-form bowlers and a dedicated batting line-up, who can help win the match.
Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes controlled the run-flow of the hosts and stifled them by taking quick wickets; while Jordan registered 3-23, Stokes removed the well-settled Amla in the 6th over. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali put their spin tactics into work and took 3 wickets between them to put South Africa in trouble during the chase for 135 runs; however, Reece Topley gave away too many runs and couldn’t stop Morris from crossing the finish line.
The batting performance was lacklustre as players like Jason Roy, Joe Root, Morgan and the hard-hitting Stokes failed to impress with the bat; they might try to bring in James Vince into play as he has been in better form than Roy in the top-order. Alex Hales and Jos Buttler tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but with not much help from others, they could only muster 134 runs in the end.
The batsmen need to return to posting power-packed performances as seen in the beginning of the ODI series; the bowlers are a confident unit with Stokes, Jordan Moeen Ali and Rashid providing breakthroughs when required but unless the batting line-up gives them more to fight for, they might once again go down on the losing side.
South Africa has done well to chase down runs successfully and win the first match; however, they need to be cautious against a resurgent English side. With this being the decider of the series, we feel England will put their best foot forward to redeem themselves with a much-needed win here.