South Africa v England 2nd T20: Tahir trounces tourists, Vince vies for spot
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | February 20, 2016
South Africa v England
- Second Twenty20 International
- Sunday, February 21st
- Play starts: 12:30 GMT
- Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Last competitive clash before World T20
Although England’s agonising and thrilling final ball loss to South Africa in Cape Town on Friday was their first Twenty20 International defeat in seven outings in that form of cricket, they are now winless in four competitive matches.
The tail end of their winter Tour is in danger of belying a Test series triumph, which Trevor Bayliss’ team looked likely to follow up on when leading the One Day Internationals 2-0.
Now the best England can hope in T20 action is a series draw, and Coral make them evens to get that, with the hosting Proteas again narrow odds-on favourites at 4/5.
Johannesburg is the last chance for players to impress before going on to the World Twenty20 in India next month, and that campaign begins for England against the West Indies on March 16th.
More needed from top order
Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan, the first four at the crease and all specialist batsmen, contributed just 60 runs to the cause between them in Cape Town and none of them even lasted half an hour.
Many of England’s top order were caught cheaply, chipping the ball – admittedly and often off inspired spin bowling from Imran Tahir – to fielders around the perimeter.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Buttler’s unbeaten 32 was the tourists’ best score in the first T20, and it is tempting to tip him to be top dog again at 6/1.
James Vince could now be given another chance to demonstrate his credentials, however, after watching from the sidelines on Friday.
Although shorter than Buttler in the best England batsman market at 4/1, Vince boasts an average of just under 42 runs from three Twenty20 Internationals. That is the highest of any available to Bayliss here.
Variety of England attack makes bowler betting difficult
Inconsistent pair Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali, who possess very different styles of bowling, did the most damage to South Africa with respective first T20 figures of 3-23 and 2-22.
Can either paceman Jordan or all-rounder and spinner Ali be trusted to reproduce, though? Both are 4/1 chances to be England’s best with the ball.
Left-armer Reece Topley had been expected to continue recent rampant displays in shorter forms of cricket, but flopped in Cape Town with an expensive economy of nine runs per over conceded from three bowled and no wickets.
If punters feel he will respond, then Topley is an alternative at 3/1, but the best bowler market tends to be erratic in Twenty20 games.
De Villiers won’t want to keep wicket again
South Africa’s star batsman AB de Villiers stepped in as wicketkeeper to cover for the injured Quinton de Kock in Cape Town, but managed to last just 10 balls and put seven runs on the board.
It is clear, as previously shown in the opening Test in Durban, he no longer relishes the extra responsibility, despite the T20 stumping of Ben Stokes, who had hit a four and a six during his brief spell at the crease.
Should he be set free of the keeper’s gloves, De Villiers always represents a danger and could be far more worthy of consideration in a 6/1 wincast which would see the Proteas wrap a Twenty20 International series win.
Hashim Amla (3/1 to score most for the hosts), South Africa’s T20 captain Faf du Plessis (9/2) and JP Duminy (7/1) all got as settled as a batsman can in this form of cricket, so are worthy of consideration to be best in this department for their team if De Villiers is behind the wicket again.
Take Tahir to give Proteas pleasure
Career best Twenty20 International figures of 4-21 from aforementioned spinner Tahir, who removed touring captain Morgan and Ali in successive deliveries in Cape Town, meant that he overshadowed highly-regarded youngster Kagiso Rabada among the South African bowlers.
Spin bowling certainly proved effective on that pitch, and this form of the game seems to be where Pakistan-born Tahir tears it up. His T20 bowling average for the Proteas is just 14.41 at an economy of 6.38.
Joint-favourite alongside Rabada at 11/4 to be South Africa’s best with the ball again, it is hard to look past Tahir or the young pace bowler, who will play in England for Kent in all cricket competitions this coming summer.
Coral’s top tip: Vince will surely get a game for England and the chance to impress Bayliss before the World Twenty20, so take him at 4/1 to the tourists’ best batsman in Johannesburg.