England won the Test series against South Africa, who showed strong character to win the five-match ODI series after losing the first two matches. Now, the action shifts to the highly entertaining T20 format, which is a different ball game altogether.
The two-match T20 series, starting Friday, will be looked upon with great interest by both the teams with the upcoming World T20 in India in March. The T20 series represents a great chance for South Africa and England to try out different combinations and find their best starting eleven ahead of the World T20.
All the participating teams in the World T20 will have only one objective – win the competition. England and South Africa's goal will be no different.
South Africa should be a confident unit heading into the T20 series with three wins on a trot in the ODI series under their belt. Even more so, with their batsmen Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla having scored good runs in the ODI series, they will be eager to carry their impressive run in the T20 format as well.
They look a strong team on paper with quality bowlers such as Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris. However, these bowlers will be aware of the huge task when they bowl against the in-form English batsmen such as Joe Root, Alex Hales and big-hitters like Eion Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Hales and Root were in prolific run-scoring form for England in the ODI series, scoring 383 and 351 runs. If the English batsmen get their act together in the T20 series, England could well be in the driver's seat for the two-match T20 series. However, their bowlers lack experience in the T20 format, with Reece Topley and Chris Woakes leading the line.
Both teams come into this series with great record in their previous T20 competition. England defeated Pakistan comprehensively in the three-match T20 series,while South Africa was impressive in their huge victory over India in November and October, respectively.
Complete schedule for South Africa vs England ODI series
England: Eoin Morgan (C), Moeen Ali, , Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, James Vince.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (C), AB de Villiers, Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, , Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada,Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, David Wiese
South Africa vs England 1st T20
Date: Feb. 19
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Time: 6 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. IST, 4 p.m. GMT)
South Africa vs England 2nd T20
Date: Feb. 21
Venue: New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Time: 2:30 a.m. local time (6 p.m. IST, 12:30 p.m. GMT)
TV listings: India: Ten Cricket. UK: Sky Sports. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: Supersport. USA: Willow TV.