England v South Africa, 3rd NatWest T20I, Edgbaston September 11, 2012

Momentum on offer in series decider


Match Facts

September 12, 2012, Edgbaston
Start time 6.30pm (1730GMT)

The Big Picture

Each of the series played between these two teams this season has come down to a final-match decider but, as with the Test matches, the best England can hope for is a share of the trophy. Given they needed 13 off five balls at Old Trafford to be ahead of the D/L target that is probably a position they are fortunate to be in.

The Nine9 in Manchester was a hectic affair: batsmen swinging from the hip, the ball skewing off edges, fielders slipping on a wet outfield, a couple of wonderful catches, another England drop and some impressive quick bowling. On balance it is South Africa who still hold an edge, particularly with the strength of their batting, which is in sharp contrast to the problems England have.

It was instructive to watch Hashim Amla's approach to what was basically a slog-fest. He barely slogged. Sure, he tried to hit the ball hard, and occasionally lost his shape, but his boundaries were well-timed, well-placed shots and not just the wild hacks attempted by Craig Kieswetter, Alex Hales and Luke Wright.

Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were a handful on a lively pitch - unlike what is expected in Sri Lanka - while most of England's bowlers performed well, too. Two-over spells are difficult to analyse, but Graeme Swann did not conceded a boundary and Jade Dernbach just the one.

For both sides this is their final outing before departing for the subcontinent and whoever wins will feel they can take a little bit of momentum and confidence - although it is difficult to gauge much from either camp with no players having spoken for three days. But whatever happens at Edgbaston it won't count for much when the World Twenty20 starts.

Form guide

(Most recent first, completed matches)

EnglandL WWWL
South Africa WWWWL

Watch out for

Jade Dernbach is a bowler to watch with an open mind. When it goes wrong it can get very ugly but he has a unique set of skills that can make him a match-winner. He took wickets at Chester-le-Street but was expensive, then two overs at Old Trafford cost just 12 runs. On the slow pitches in Sri Lanka his ability to bowl yorkers and slower balls will be invaluable. However, it will not always go to plan.

Dale Steyn has bowled beautifully since returning to the side midway through the one-day series, with a combination pace, control and swing. He had a wry smile on his face at Old Trafford when Alex Hales outside edged him for six over third man. With South Africa keen to manage Steyn's workload he has not always been a regular in the T20 side - playing 23 matches - but bowling like he is, makes the attack formidable.

Team news

The indications are that England are settling on their main bowling attack having played the same combination in both matches, supplemented by Luke Wright in place of Ravi Bopara in Manchester, although they may yet decide to tinker when they get to Sri Lanka. Michael Lumb, Danny Briggs and Tim Bresnan are the three of the World Twenty20 squad yet to play.

England (possible) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Earlier in the series, AB de Villiers indicated he would like to give all his players a game at some point, which would mean bringing Wayne Parnell and Farhaan Behardien into the side - but they will also want to win the series.

South Africa (possible) 1 Richard Levi, 2, Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel

Pitch and conditions

Edgbaston has suffered as much as anywhere from all the rain this season and the forecast suggests a risk of interruptions. When players did get on the pitch for a full Friends Life t20 innings, scores ranged from 149 to 173, which is ideal for the format.

Stats and trivia

  • If England level the series they will jump above South Africa to the No. 1 spot in the Twenty20 rankings

  • Graeme Swann became England's leading T20 wicket-taker when he clung on to the caught-and-bowled to remove JP Duminy in the second game

  • England have not played a Twenty20 international at Edgbaston

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • steve on September 13, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    RandyOZ - once again the accuracy of your predictions is highlighted, as with your team in T20s, your win ratio is extremely poor - time to get another record; Romanticstud - how about 32 off one over - 2nd highest score for an over in T20 history; Edgie - wrong on both counts.

    T20 is a lottery, one good over by a bowler or batmen can seriously change the result of the game - which is why to me, T20 is not a game to be taken seriously though as always, once the result is known and England have won, none of those who predicted annihilation can be bothered to come back and explain how wrong they were.

  • Hira on September 12, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    rain reduce match so a chance for England...

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    I really don't have time for these ridiculous t20 matches. The irony of me taking the time to make this comment is not lost on me.

  • Nicholas on September 12, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Oh yes, and I forgot to say rain-delays, matches lost to rain, matches reduced by rain... Yeah it's really hard following cricket in UK at times!

  • John on September 12, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (September 12 2012, 11:38 AM GMT) Is it definite that Eng go number 1 if they beat SA today? It would seem strange and while I can kind of make out your theory , it would mean that ICC seem to change their rankings system as they feel. I mean if Eng and SA drew the test series (while almost level pre series) Eng would have held their ranking. Should it not be the same for T20s.?I thought Eng were harshly dropped down the T20 rankings but lucky to go so far up the ODI rankings but as SA are now T20 number 1 and at worst will come out of the series 1-1 , they should remain number 1 after the series

  • samy on September 12, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    Amla must be a very brave man...... as fortune faver the brave

  • K on September 12, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    @BG4cricket on (September 12 2012, 01:03 AM GMT) " - should play Bopara"… No! England should give him extended rest. He deserves it. Why should the poor guy wake up to the nightmares of a SA bowler charging at him?

  • Thabang on September 12, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    As a Proteas fan the only rankings that count are for Test Cricket.For Limited overs Cricket it is the ICC tournaments that are important.So who ever wins tonight it will not make a difference if they do not lift the Trophy in Sri Lanka.So good luck to the Proteas Tonight.Bring the Trophy Home from Sri Lanka.

  • Francois on September 12, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    England to win and retain their Title, KP to play for SA in future

  • debarata on September 12, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Some musings ahead of t20 WC; would love it if Afghanistan managed to upset England and/or India in the t20 WC. It would do justice to the format and to the team. Also,well done to SLC for changing some of the pitches to the faster variety; Pallekele for eg. This is a small and somewhat unnoticed change but may do a lot for SLC cricket in the long term. Even Colombo isn't a mudpatch as it used to be. What with KP's media stint, this t20 WC may throw up a few surprises. The only things unchanged will be Hashim Amla as he will continue to pile up scores; MSD's patented midwicket hoicks; several versions of Dil-scoop. Follow that up with the ultimate grudge series of India v England, and we are all good to go till the New Year! Long live cricket.

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