Buttler could move up the order

England To Beat SA In T20 Opener

England will have an opportunity to bounce back from their ICC Champions Trophy disappointment in their T20 series against South Africa.

The Three Lions were widely backed to win the 50-over tournament, but were defeated by the eventual champions Pakistan in the semi-finals.

Eoin Morgan’s men will have been hugely disappointed to miss out on the crown, but they will have chance to take their frustrations out on the Proteas, who also failed to fire at the competition.

South Africa failed to advance from Group B after losing to Pakistan and India, the latter of which was an embarrassing defeat for AB de Villiers’ men, featuring three comical run-outs.

The Proteas will be aiming to find some form on the tour ahead of the Test series against the Three Lions, with only two failures to their name thus in the ODI series and the Champions Trophy.

De Villiers had a tournament to forget as he failed to find his touch, and South Africa will be desperate for their star man to begin to fire, starting at the Ageas Bowl.

We’ll now break down the betting odds for the opening T20 of the series, which could present surprises as England have opted to shuffle their ranks to rest key players ahead of a busy schedule in 2017.

England’s Top Batsman

Buttler could move up the order

The Three Lions will be without star batsman Joe Root for the series as the ECB have opted to rest him ahead of the Test series. The 26-year-old had issues with ankle and back problems during the Champions Trophy – so the time away from the action should be beneficial for him and England in the long run.

His absence could allow Jos Buttler to be elevated up the order to emulate his position at the IPL with the Mumbai Indians, although on he will likely have to slot in behind openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales.

The form of Hales, Root, Morgan and Ben Stokes at the top of the order prevented Buttler from gaining much time at the crease during the Champions Trophy along with the ODI series against the Proteas.

However, he did highlight his class with a fine innings of 61 to steer England to an overwhelming total against New Zealand, while he previously notched 65 against South Africa – which proved to be crucial as the Three Lions edged out their opponents by only two runs.

Other than that Buttler has struggled to get going, with two early dismissals in games against the Proteas, while he failed to fire in England’s defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy semi-final.

His potential elevation up the order should allow him to thrive and play his natural game rather than swinging from the hip from the off.

Buttler has the ability not just to smash the ball out of the ground, but also nurdle it around the field to pick up ones and twos, which can be vital against the best teams in the world.

As a result, backing him at +600   with Betfair to lead the Three Lions in runs would be a smart bet to take.

South Africa’s Top Batsman

The Proteas will be without Faf du Plessis for the series as he has returned home to attend the birth of his first child, leaving De Villiers in charge of the T20 outfit.

South Africa will be short on experience and quality as Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Jean-Paul Duminy have all been rested from the series. Reeza Hendricks and JJ Smuts will open the batting, with De Villiers, David Miller and Farhaan Berhardien expected to fill out the middle order.

The pressure will be on De Villiers to rack up the run due to the number of absentees. Smuts and Hendricks did feature against Sri Lanka earlier this year, but did not light up the scoreboard and they will be expected to improve against the Three Lions to ease the burden on the middle order.

Reports suggest that De Villiers could miss the Test series against England – therefore the T20s will be his last chance to salvage what has been an underwhelming tour thus far. The 33-year-old scored one half-century during the three-match ODI series against Morgan’s men in his side’s 2-1 defeat.

The Champions Trophy proved to be even more frustrating for De Villiers as he made just 20 runs in his three innings in the tournament, with his run-out dismissal against India being a microcosm of the Proteas’ success in the competition.

He has too much talent not to get at least one big score during the tour and with the pressure on him to fire at the Ageas Bowl, expect him to rise to the occasion with a big performance. Back De Villiers at +275   with Bet365 to be South Africa’s top man in the opener.

England’s Top Bowler

Jordan could provide a spark

Jake Ball and Ben Stokes have been rested for the series, while Chris Woakes remains sidelined with a side strain. Chris Jordan and David Willey should come into the fold – both with points to prove having been left out of the ODI side.

Willey and Jordan were crucial parts of the T20 side that drove the Three Lions into the final of the World Twenty20 last year and remain steady operators in the game, despite their lack of international action.

Neither have played for England since January since the series defeat in India, which will not bring fond memories for Jordan as he was smacked around Bangalore in the Three Lions’ decisive defeat.

He will be determined to bounce back against the Proteas and he will need all of his variations to prevent the likes of De Villiers and Miller from putting England under the same pressure that India did earlier this year.

Jordan has a strong character and bowling at the end of the innings should provide him with ample opportunities to pick up wickets. As a result, backing him at +350   with William Hill should be a decent shout.

Winner

Both sides’ depth will be tested in the opener as each team has opted to rest key players. England’s replacements have already proven their quality while playing for the Lions and should be ready to take the step up into international T20.

England will be determined to bounce back from their disappointing end to the Champions Trophy and with an influx of new talent into the side they should have enough to beat the Proteas in the opener. Backing Morgan’s men at odds of -125   with SportingBet is the option to take.

Tips Summary

England To Beat South Africa 1st T20
Wednesday 21st June 2017 18:30 BST
Odds: -125

Jos Buttler To Be England’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 21st June 2017 18:30 BST
Odds: +600

AB de Villiers To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Wednesday 21st June 2017 18:30 BST
Odds: +275

Chris Jordan To Be England’s Top Bowler
Wednesday 21st June 2017 18:30 BST
Odds: +350

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