Steyn-the-mentor boosts inexperienced SA side in first T20 against England
JOHANNESBURG – After ending the One-Day International series 1-1 against the world champions, an inexperienced South African side will be hoping to carry that confidence into the shortest format into the first T20 in East London against England on Wednesday evening.
The much-anticipated return of Dale Steyn to the South African set-up might help boost the largely inexperienced home team's self-belief.
In the absence of Faf du Plessis and star bowler Kagiso Rabada, Steyn's experience will be of much value to this young side. New captain Quinton de Kock's form is a big positive; he scored 187 runs at 62.33 in the two innings in the ODI series and will be hungry for more.
He will be ably assisted by Temba Bavuma at No.3, who performed well in his debut T20I series against India five months ago. David Miller also gives this side the necessary fire-power in the middle-order. Tabraiz Shamsi and Beuran Hendricks, who were the best bowlers in the ODI series, will look to continue on the same note.
England are a more settled unit. With Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes coming back into the setup, the batting lineup looks formidable. The lineup also features Dawid Malan, who returned scores of 11, 39, 55, 103 in the New Zealand series last November. The presence of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow in the squad only adds to the strength.
The spin department will be manned by the veterans Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, who bowled well in the ODIs. England are missing Jofra Archer due to an elbow fracture, but the visitors still have plenty of options in the bowling department.
After being thoroughly outplayed in the Test series, the Proteas showed glimpses of what they are capable of when they drew the ODI series 1-1.
They won the first ODI by seven wickets by restricting England to a modest 258 and then chasing the target with ease, thanks to a superb century from skipper de Kock. After the second ODI was washed out, England levelled the series with a close two-wicket win in the third.
South Africa are meeting England in a T20I series after nearly three years. They last met in a three-match series in England, which the hosts won 2-1.
Steyn said: ”I want to kind of orchestrate that bowling line-up a little bit. I want to be able to guide them. I want to stand at mid-off and really say, 'look what are you thinking, what ball are you going to bowl' and hopefully they can learn and get better every game while I'm there.
“My job is to make sure guys are making the right decisions on the field. That's what I want to achieve out of this.”
Buttler said: “I'm really excited for these T20s, it is a format I know well and have got a lot of experience in and it's great fun.
“To have a series with three games in is nice, a lot of the time it is one game on the end of the ODI series so to have three matches to really look forward to is exciting.”
African News Agency (ANA)