England To Claim T20 Series Victory In Cardiff

South Africa fought their way back into the T20 series against England by claiming a three-run victory at Taunton to force a decider in the final contest.

The Three Lions appeared to be on their way to clinching the series with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow seemingly well set at the crease.

However, Bairstow was dismissed for 47 by Chris Morris, while Roy was controversially given out for obstructing the field, while attempting a single with Liam Livingstone.

England’s batsmen failed to find their rhythm in the final overs of the contest, allowing the Proteas to secure the narrow win and level the series heading into the third match in Cardiff.

AB de Villiers returned to his best form for his side as he prepares to sign off on the tour. His blistering innings of 46 off just 20 deliveries set up the match-winning total and he will be determined to maintain his form before leaving for an extended period of rest.

The form of Morris was crucial as he took two wickets for just 18 runs during his four overs, while he also managed to get under the skin of the England batsmen towards the crucial time of the innings.

With their experienced players coming to the fore the Proteas have a real chance to snatching the series, although Eoin Morgan’s men will be aiming to bounce back from their underwhelming outing with the bat at the site of their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final defeat to Pakistan.

England’s Top Batsman

Hales should return to open

It would be no surprise to see Alex Hales come straight back into the fold for the Three Lions at Cardiff. Sam Billings and Livingstone struggled immensely coming into the side from the first match of the series, with neither looking overly comfortable at the crease.

Livingstone arguably played the innings that lost England the game as he scored just 16 runs off 18 deliveries before being embarrassingly run out, while also dropping a catch earlier in the contest. The 23-year-old could do with time out of the firing line before he returns to the fold.

Dawid Malan should come into the fold to replace one of the duo, while Hales could slot back into his position at number two. The 28-year-old was in impressive knick in the opening match, notching 47 in a quiet fashion as he played a secondary role to the onslaught provided by Bairstow.

However, he will be looking to make a final impression before the return of the longer form of the game and has been threatening to fire a massive score in limited-overs cricket throughout the summer. Backing Hales at odds of +300   with Bet365 would be a prudent option to the lead the way for the Three Lions.

Should he be left out once again – then the form of Roy presents the next best option. He was playing extremely well before he was controversially given out for obstructing the field – how that ever became a rule is anyone’s guess!

Roy would have been furious with the decision and even the appeal from the Proteas – therefore his odds of +300   are also intriguing should his regular opening partner not feature in the side.

South Africa’s Top Batsman

De Villiers was at the peak of his powers at Taunton, bouncing back from his poor outing at the Ageas Bowl. The 33-year-old’s timing was outstanding and he looked to building a mammoth score before he sliced a delivery from Liam Plunkett into the hands of Morgan for 46.

The Proteas’ skipper will be returning home after this game for an extended period of rest – therefore he will be putting his utmost into the contest.

England have had decent plans for him throughout the summer and have not allowed him to break away from them, but this could be the match where he delivers a fatal blow to the Three Lions.

JJ Smuts found his form at the crease with a fine knock of 45. He took the attack to England from the off, responding from his first-ball dismissal at the Ageas Bowl. The 28-year-old manoeuvred the ball around the pitch and was able to find the boundary with regularity.

South Africa are in dire need of one of their batsmen to take the pressure off their captain to thrive and Smuts’ performance suggests that he could be the man to make the difference.

The pressure will be on England’s attack to limit him at the top of the innings and he could expose them once again – therefore backing him at odds of +350   with SkyBet could be a prudent punt.

England’s Top Bowler

Curran can fire again for England

Credit: AP Images

The Three Lions are expected to bring Craig Overton into the fold at Cardiff, while Mason Crane could also return. Chris Jordan had a match to forget with the ball and in the field as he sent down four wides during his four overs and dropped a fairly routine catch.

He could be the man to make way from the side, especially due to the very promising debut performance from Tom Curran.

The Surrey man was outstanding with the ball on his England bow, taking three wickets for just 33 runs, displaying a potent threat and the ability the keep the runs off the scoreboard using his variations towards the end of the innings.

Morgan and the coaching staff will be eager to see the 22-year-old in action once again to see if he can replicate his performance. Curran could be an important player for the Three Lions in the future – therefore seeing him adapt so easily to international cricket will have been pleasing.

Backing the bowler to lead the way once again for Morgan’s men at odds of +350   with William Hill could be the option to take.


England will have been frustrated to see their opportunity to win the series slip from their grasp at Taunton and should respond at Sophia Gardens.

They failed to seize the initiative at their last appearance at the ground when they were eliminated by Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy and that should provide extra motivation for the Three Lions to put the series away.

As a result, backing England to claim the victory at odds of -150   with SkyBet is the option to take.

Tips Summary

India To Beat Pakistan ICC Champions Trophy Final
Sunday 25th June 14:30pm BST
Odds: -150

Alex Hales To Be England’sTop Batsman
Sunday 25th June 14:30pm BST
Odds: +300

JJ Smuts To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Sunday 25th June 14:30pm BST
Odds: +350

Tom Curran To Be England’s Top Bowler
Sunday 25th June 14:30pm BST
Odds: +350

Eoin Morgan
south africa

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