Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Can South Africa upset England in T20s?

With the ODI series against India finishing in rather damp fashion at Lord's on Monday, attention now shifts to the shortest format of the game as South Africa slot in three T20s against England, before moving on to three more against Ireland in Solihull.

First the South Africans have two warm-up games against the England Academy at Garon Park in Southend on 29th (2.00pm) and 30th August (10.30am) and I expect the Proteas to be a strong team. Their cricket has come a long way in the last couple of years, including reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals earlier this year (having beaten New Zealand in their group match), when they were a little overawed by the occasion, losing comfortably to England. CSA has also just announced that the number of contracted players on the books is now 14, up from six last year. They are a "professional" outfit.

T20 suits the hard-hitting Saffers with the likes of Lee, du Preez, van Niekerk, Tryon and Luus, and they have some good wicket-taking bowlers in opening quicks Ismail and Daniels, and spinners van Niekerk and Luus. They have absolutely nothing to lose in the series against England and I expect them to acquit themselves very well, and they may even win the series.

As for England T20 is not their best format. The importance of their top order batsmen seems to dictate that they do not go too hard at the ball in the first 10-15 overs in the hope that they can build momentum in the last five. But without the big boundary hitters this approach simply does not work. It will be interesting to see the batting line-up that takes the field in the first T20 at Chelmsford next Monday evening. In the squad England have the following batsmen - Beaumont, Edwards, Greenway, Gunn, Jones, Knight, Sciver, Taylor, Winfield, and Wyatt, but only seven, or possibly eight at a push (with Gunn, Knight and Sciver making up 8 overs between them) can play. If you add Edwards, Taylor and Greenway (despite her lack of current form) to the three all-rounders then it is two from Beaumont, Jones, Winfield and Wyatt.

My line-up, in batting order, would be Winfield, Knight, Taylor, Edwards, Sciver, Greenway, Wyatt, Gunn, Hazell, Brunt, Shrubsole, with Winfield being given free-reign to go at the ball from the outset and Sciver and Wyatt being given similar instructions further down the order. However that does not mean that they should go in and slog, but just be prepared to put their hands through the ball and not be afraid to go aerial. It would be good to see a much more positive batting performance from England, but with positivity comes risk. It is all in the execution.

All three games are going to be live on Sky and will be covered on the radio by BBC TMS. Better still get down and watch the games for real (http://www.ecb.co.uk/tickets/england-women-tickets).
The fixtures are :-

Mon 1st Sept England v South Africa - Chelmsford 6.30pm
Wed 3rd Sept England v South Africa - Northampton 6.30pm
Sun 7th Sept England v South Africa - Egbaston 10.30am



  1. Good article, making some good points, and its hard to find much fault with your proposed line up (albeit Knight still needs to prove she can open in T20 - only 15 runs from 16 balls in 3 attempts at opening so far).

    I would add that if Winfield is out first then Taylor comes in and if Knight is out first then Edwards comes in - simply to balance the stayer and slogger.

    "without the big boundary hitters" - yep, last 6 hit by an England player was by Lottie on the 29th January 2014. If they fail to clock one in this series there must be a chance we'll make a calendar year without one. The list of most recent 6 hitters in T20 reads Edwards, Sciver, Winfield, Beaumont, Rowe, Gunn, Brindle and Taylor stretching back to the start of 2013 so amazingly no one has hit more than one in T20 in 2013 and 2014. Lottie can probably argue that she doesn't need to because she knows how to score keeping the bowl on the ground.

    One will have to be a die-hard England Women's fan to stomp up £55 (+ £1.20 booking fee) for the Edgbaston bash.

    1. "One will have to be a die-hard England Women's fan to stomp up £55 (+ £1.20 booking fee) for the Edgbaston bash."

      And an early riser - it practically starts at dawn!!!

  2. England test one day and t20 have the same team more or less. It is difficult to digest as amongst Academy or U19 squads nobody is good to face 'weak' CSA side. Isn't it time to plan for 2016-17 world cup? With all due respect do Edwards still in picture for world cup team? And then we wonder how to beat Aussies. Need some risk takers at the top.