South Africa v England 1st T20: Captain Morgan back in-form for tourists
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | February 18, 2016
South Africa v England
- First Twenty20 International
- Friday, February 19th
- Play starts: 16:00 GMT
- Newlands, Cape Town
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Tour match evidence of response to ODI series loss
If England were still smarting from throwing away a 2-0 One Day International series lead to lose to hosts South Africa 3-2, they showed no signs of it when securing a 44-run victory in a Tour Twenty20 match in Paarl.
Coral thus make the tourists even-money to win their first T20 International in Cape Town, and a better price at 3/1 to win both this and the next match on Sunday.
The hosting Proteas are narrow odds-on 4/5 favourites to win this initial 20 overs contest, however, and 15/8 for the series, which is 11/10 to be drawn.
Morgan back on song
England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan came in for criticism from some quarters after the ODI series, where he averaged just 16 runs per game. If he wasn’t leading by example in the One Day game, he warmed up just fine for the two T20s, though.
Smashing 42 off 13 balls, including five sixes, Morgan’s contribution with the bat in the Tour match proved second only to opening batsman Alex Hales, who made 78 off 52.
While the tourists didn’t entirely show their hand in that encounter, opting to rest all-rounder Moeen Ali and Joe Root, Morgan (5/1 to be best England batsman) and Hales (shorter at 3/1 to be top dog again) are first XI regulars.
Vince keen to press Test claims in T20s
Hampshire’s James Vince, a relative newcomer to the international setup with just three Twenty20 appearances to his name, boasts the best batting average in this form of the game, so is a superb 7/2 alternative in that best touring batsman market.
He clearly seeks to make an impression. “I want to play all formats for England ideally,” Vince said. “My way in has been through Twenty20, but I’d like to progress to the One Day and Test sides.”
Vince’s 125 T20 runs to date mean he is a man South Africa will want to get out alongside captain Morgan, openers Hales and Jason Roy, plus Root, who features in an enhanced 13/2 wincast.
Take in-form Topley in bowler betting
England left-arm paceman Reece Topley has caught the eye in recent limited overs outings, posting 4/50 and 3/41 figures in ODI matches two and five, while taking 3/29 in that Tour game last time out.
At 3/1 to be best England bowler, he will surely add to four Twenty20 wickets in two internationals in Cape Town, and Topley has terrific average in this form of cricket with the ball of 14.75 at an economy of 7.37.
David Willey is also the same price as Topley, yet he has proved to be a more expensive bowler in a similar number of T20 international outings.
Proteas batsmen must do more
Although AB de Villiers is a household name of South African cricket, his Twenty20 batting average is a worryingly under 23 runs. For once, then, it may pay to swerve him, despite the customary enhanced 6/1 wincast.
Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, meanwhile, posted a couple of One Day centuries, so looks better value at 11/2 if it’s combining best batsman odds with a Proteas win that appeals to you.
Opener and Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis boasts the best South African average at a shade less than 40 runs, so he’s a nifty 9/2 to be top dog at the crease for the hosts.
Is Rabada bound for County Championship?
The Proteas’ undoubted star of this winter has been fast bowler Kagiso Rabada. His youth has revitalised the South African attack in the absence of Dale Steyn.
Rapid Rabada was top wicket-taker of the Test series, snaring 22 victims, and he has carried that form into his One Day game with a further nine at an economy rate of 4.73.
No wonder, then, Kent are trying to sign him up to play first-class cricket for them this summer. Rabada is the outstanding candidate to be best with the ball in this T20, and he is a worthy 11/4 favourite.
England 2016 World T20 squad
Eoin Morgan (c)
Why not relive this winter Tour of South Africa by visiting our cricket archives, as England’s time in the Southern Hemisphere sun draws to a close.