England v South Africa, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 28, 2014

Fallible sides hunt consistency


Play 01:56
Crowe: SA relying on too few players

Match Facts

March 29, 2014, Chittagong
Start time 1930 (1330GMT)

Big Picture

When South Africa and England have met at World T20s in the past, it has always been accompanied by pressure. In 2007 and 2009, they clashed in the first match of the second round, in which all teams started with no points and making a statement early was imperative.

South Africa succeeded both times. In 2010, they shared top spot in their group before locking horns and England's triumph put them on course for the trophy. This time it is must-win for both of them and even that may not be enough to secure a semi-final spot.

For South Africa there is a simple scenario of this match: win and they are into the semi-finals as Sri Lanka and New Zealand still need to play each other so only one of those can end of six points. If they lose, the equation becomes far more complicated and given South Africa's history in global tournaments that version of events would be no surprise. And now they have to factor in being without their captain, Faf du Plessis, who has been suspended for a slow over rate against Netherlands.

A defeat for England and it would be all-but over, just 48 hours after the blitz by Alex Hales. If New Zealand have overcome Netherlands and Stuart Broad's team then lose, they are out of the tournament.

It would be ideal if the fate of the semi-finalists was not clear until the final group matches on Monday. That is the way a multi-team tournament should play out and with both in patchy form and everything to play for, their desperation to do well should provide more than enough excitement.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)

South Africa WWLLLL
England WLWLL

Watch out for

They will not have anything to do with the outcome of the match but the twin beards of Hashim Amla and Moeen Ali will be impossible to miss. It is not the first time these two magnificent manes will be on the same field - they met when South Africa played a warm-up match in Worcester on their 2012 tour to England - but it is their maiden international outing together. Don't be surprised if Amla and Ali share trimming tips in between overs.

With so much at stake for both teams, you can expert raging tempers in this match, especially among the bowlers. Dale Steyn's dancing eyes look to intimidate England's line-up, Jade Dernbach's will try and dig holes into South Africa's. The teams have enough history between them to rub each other up the wrong way and send off some fireworks in the process.

Team news

England have a small concern over Broad's knee. He did not train on Friday to rest it but said he "should be okay," for the match. Ian Bell has recovered from his upset stomach but is unlikely to make an appearance in the XI which could see England field an unchanged side.

England (probable) 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 James Tredwell, 11 Jade Dernbach

AB de Villiers will captain in place of the suspended du Plessis while Farhaan Behardien is likely to come into the middle order. Wayne Parnell has rejoined the South African camp after attending a court hearing in Mumbai and may be slotted straight into the XI at either Lonwabo Tsotsobe or Beuran Hendricks' expense. South Africa may also want to bring Morne Morkel back, which could see both left-armers, Tsotosbe and Hendricks benched.

South Africa (possible) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 JP Duminy, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 Farhaan Behardien, 6 David Miller, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Dale Steyn 9 Wayne Parnell, 10 Morne Morkel 11 Imran Tahir


The surface on which South Africa played Netherlands showed signs of sluggishness and the most effective bowlers were those who took the pace off the ball. There were no similar problems in the England-Sri Lanka match though, so perhaps not much should be read into the behaviour of the first track. Saturday is set to be the warmest day out of the last week in Chittagong with the mercury rising to 34 degrees and no rain is forecast.

Stats and trivia

  • The head to head T20 record between South Africa and England is tight. They have played eight matches, South Africa have won four and England three with one no result.

  • Alex Hales has the most runs in T20 cricket this year with 241 from eight matches while Imran Tahir is third on the highest wicket-takers list for 2014 with 11 scalps from just four matches.


"There's more for the seamers than we were anticipating when we got to Bangladesh. England have got a quality attack and we'll have to work hard on our strategies. We know we've got to beat England to try and progress. It might still come down to run-rate. There's still a lot to play for."
South Africa's coach Russell Domingo expects England's quicks to be the main threat in what is a must-win game for his team

"South Africa probably haven't fired as you would expect in this tournament so far with the danger they've got but they had key men getting them over the line."
Because South Africa have only just edged over the line for the two matches they've won, Stuart Broad is wary that they are yet to perform at the best

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on March 29, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Umpires just made a horrendous call, allowing the field to be dried during the break when the lights were out. Completely unfair!

  • David on March 29, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    I reckon this may boil down to the battle of the beards. Who has the true Flaming Beard of Fury? Amla or Ali? I'll back Amla any day.

    Of course other South Africans, like Lumb and Dernbach may also influence the game.

  • Oshada on March 29, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    England just won this game. Win the toss bat second when the opposition bowlers are incapacitated by the dew and enjoy nice batting conditions. Worked beautifully against the Sri Lankans

  • David on March 29, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    Lots of suggestions here about changes to the SA team. Albie & Tsotsobe need to go, but the biggest change SA need is a new coach! Domingo is dragging the Proteas down. Slowly but steadily they are losing that team ethos & identity that allowed them to click. The composition of this squad is pathetic, SA has a dozen or more better players than Albie & Tsotsobe & Behardien - and they are all sitting at home, back in SA! (Not playing for Eng)

    SA are back to the Micky Arthur era. Great players, poorly led by formula, and not by inspiration.

  • John on March 29, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    Broad being unable to play and Morgan captaining the side would make England stronger.

  • Sanju on March 29, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    England will be high on confidence after a Successful run chase against the best bowling attack of this tournament, where as SA had two scratchy wins, but still is a more balanced team. Though SA maybe the favourites here, I would go for England. Could see the change in their body language after the win against the Lankans and they now believe that they can take on SA. If they win then it will be NZ and England who will go though from this group, provided NZ win against Netherlands today. May the best team win. Cheers!

  • John on March 29, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    @JMC/C&C - Also kind of worry about the way everything seems so regimented/formulated. I like Ali bowling first but I wonder if other teams may do their homework and plan for this. What about trying an over from Tredwell or Bopara in the 1st 5 overs. I often think T20 should be alot more spontaneous

  • John on March 29, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney on (March 29, 2014, 8:46 GMT) Hello. Don't think Bopara and Ali could share 10 overs in a T20 but we could try it and check the umpires are on the ball. Maybe our best hope to reduce the total is try and share the overs between Bopara and Tredwell with handful from Jordan and Ali and hope no one notices. However I posted on the SL report if anyone knew any reason why they never used Bopara once and no one responded so I guess there's either a slight injury concern or for some reason they haven't noticed that his ER is usually better than our pacers? Bresnan's overs got progressively worse going 6,12,14.16. You'd have thought after the 3rd over Bopara would definitely have been a better option late on I thought Patel was an obvious replacement for Root but we decided to go for a guy who has not played T20 for ages and then not even give him a warm up game. Some of our selections in all formats recently have been baffling

  • ian on March 29, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    England's best chance of winning must be dropping the captain and playing Parry. Who will go for fewer runs, Broad or Parry? The difference between 0-40 and 0-35 perhaps, but this format is all about small margins. Eoin Morgan captains, of course. In common with others, I agree that Moeen has to be used for more than the single over.

  • John on March 29, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    @JG2704 on (March 28, 2014, 18:29 GMT), with both Ali and Bopara in the team and quite capable of sharing 10 overs between them, I have to agree that we have a superfluous seamer. While Bresnan is the best batsman of the seamers, he seems to be the least effective with ball so replacing him with a specialist batsman may well be the way to go. Perhaps even replacing him with Woakes might be the way to go as he would improve the batting and he could then share the bowling with Bopara and Ali. The pitches have probably not assisted spinners as much as might have been expected but I think England could afford another spinner. Patel's left-armers may have proven an important variation and he has batted well in subcontinent conditions before.

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