England have a huge battle on their hands in the ongoing World T20 after their loss to West Indies in their opening encounter Wednesday. Hence, the team's second match of the ICC World T20 against South Africa at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai is a must-win game for England if they are to provide a serious challenge for the World T20 title.
England had come into this World T20 with decent form as they defeated Mumbai Cricket Association XI and New Zealand in their warm-up games. But they faltered against West Indies, after scoring 182 runs, which should have been enough. Chris Gayle storm hit England badly. The left-hander scored a ton to hand England the defeat.
Now, they cannot afford to think too much about it and rather concentrate on what lies ahead. They have some important games in the group. If they manage to win their three remaining matches in the group, against South Africa, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, they should not have any trouble in reaching the last four.
England's batsmen stood up against West Indies, with most of them scoring around 25 plus runs, but their bowlers could have bowled better to Gayle.
If England encountered Gayle in their first match, they need to be ready to face an even more dangerous batting line up of South Africa, which includes AB de Villiers, Quniton de Kock, David Miller and Faf du Plessis.
If these batsmen get going, there are few bowlers in world cricket that can contain them from scoring big runs. Especially in AB de Villiers, South Africa have a player, who can tear apart bowlers in no time and bat opponents out of the game.
South Africa resemble a solid batting unit, but their bowling unit is also not far off, with the likes of Dale Steyn spearheading the attack. Kyle Abbott and Chris Morris can play as an important support cast for Steyn. Imran Tahir, who is one of the best spinners in world cricket, will hold the key in Indian pitches, which assist spinners. And in JP Duminy, they have a fine all-rounder as well.
South Africa have a well balanced team, and are one of the favourites of the tournament. With the game against England being their first match of the World T20, South Africa will be keen to put up a dominating performance against England, and send warning to other teams in the World T20.
Teams: South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid. Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey.
South Africa vs England World T20 schedule
Date: March 18
Time: 7.30 p.m. IST (10 a.m. West Indies Time, 2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
TV listings: India: Star Sports 1/HD1, Star Sports 3/HD3. Indian subcontinent: Star Sports network. New Zealand: Sky Sports. UK: Sky Sports. US and Canada: Willow TV. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Sports Cricket HD. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport 2.Australia: Fox Sports 3. Hong Kong and Singapore: Star Cricket.Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD, West Indies: ESPN.