England To Wrap Up T20 Series

Bairstow has been brilliant

England made a statement in their opening T20 match of their series against South Africa.

The Three Lions cantered to an impressive nine-wicket win at the Ageas Bowl, putting an under-par Proteas outfit to the sword with ease.

AB de Villiers won the toss and elected to bat, but from the off his side were on the back foot as JJ Smuts was dismissed with the first ball of the innings by David Willey.

Two strikes from Mark Wood put England in complete control, despite the presence of the South Africa skipper and Farhaan Berhadien.

The duo put on a partnership of 110 and both notched half-centuries, but neither were fluent at the crease as Mason Crane and Liam Dawson prevented from finding their rhythm.

South Africa posted an underwhelming score of 142-3 from their 20 overs, and England proved that life batting on the surface in Southampton was not as challenging as the visitors suggested.

Jason Roy got the Three Lions off to a blistering start to end his troubles at the crease, although he was removed attempting an audacious reverse sweep off Andre Phehlukwayo for 28.

However, Jonny Baristow quickly settled at the crease and he along with Alex Hales allowed England to coast to victory with 33 deliveries to spare.

The ease of England’s win will have troubled the Proteas as their tour appears to be trending in a negative direction following their defeat in the ODI series and premature exit from the Champions Trophy.

De Villiers and company will be desperate to bounce back at Taunton, although the Three Lions will be keen to secure the series.

England’s Top Batsman

Bairstow was brilliant in Southampton

The Three Lions will have been delighted to see Roy back to form following his miserable start to the summer. The 26-year-old struggled immensely during the ODI series against the Proteas and the Champions Trophy before he was dropped in the semi-final for Bairstow.

He has been allowed to retain his place in the team for the T20s, and repaid the faith with a fine innings of 28 to kickstart England’s chase. Roy dispatched the ball around the ground with ease, especially against Wayne Parnell before overconfidence got the better of him.

Phehlukwayo’s first delivery of the innings was straight at the stumps and Roy missed his attempted reverse sweep, leading to his dismissal plumb lbw. The 26-year-old will have to learn to pick his moments at the crease, but the way he was striking the ball should provide huge encouragement to him and the team.

Bairstow’s innings will provide England with more comfort as Morgan’s men did not miss the presence of the absence Joe Root at number three. The Yorkshireman looked in excellent touch at the crease, with seemingly every shot coming off the middle of his bat.

He outscored Hales in their partnership – which is no mean feat. The 27-year-old brought up his 2nd T20 international half-century off just 29 balls, included four fours and two sixes.

Bairstow highlighted the quality of his innings by smashing the world’s number ranked bowler Imran Tahir for a six over mid-wicket. Taunton should provide a similar batting wicket and with the Yorkshireman in such good form, backing him at odds of +500   with Bet365 would be the option to take.

South Africa’s Top Batsman

De Villiers looked out of touch during his innings at the Ageas Bowl, despite notching a half-century. His performance was not the player the cricketing world has been accustomed to seeing during his illustrious career, with fatigue perhaps limiting his impact.

Reports suggest that he could miss the Test series later in the summer, leaving him with just two matches to get through before a break. Without many of their key players, South Africa need their star man to fire at Taunton to get them level with a traditional swashbuckling display.

Although the 33-year-old was not at his best at the Ageas Bowl, he still needed support around him that was not forthcoming. Berhardien looked just as short of form as his captain, while Reeza Hendricks, David Miller and Smuts were all dismissed cheaply early in the innings.

Miller was removed by a good delivery from Wood, but still needs to contribute more for the Proteas. He has only one international T20 fifty to his name, which for a player of his calibre is not good enough. The 28-year-old has been around the team long enough to take a leadership role in the outfit.

He needs to alleviate the pressure on De Villiers and batting at number four, the left-hander will have ample opportunity to rack up the runs. Backing him at odds of +450   to lead the way for the tourists with SkyBet is a solid punt.

England’s Top Bowler

Crane could surprise at Taunton

Morgan will have been delighted with the performances of his bowling unit to keep the Proteas at bay.

Willey and Wood put the tourists on the back foot from the off, each taking wickets with their first deliveries, while the Durham man then snagged the scalp of Miller with a sharp ball.

Crane fared well on his debut and could have had the wicket of De Villiers, only for the ball to just evade Roy at a wide-off. He along with Dawson bowled with control and guile in the middle overs to stop South Africa getting away from the Three Lions.

Both spinners will be eager to press their claim for a permanent place in the side, with Adil Rashid rested for the series. Taunton may not provide the necessary turn to trouble South Africa’s batsmen, but once again it will be a test of their discipline and ability to keep the runs off the board.

Crane is an intriguing option to lead the way with the bowl and could provide value to lead the wicket column at odds of +450   with BetFred.

Winner

South Africa were extremely disappointing in the opening match of the series. They were short of quality with the bat and ball, and perhaps more worrying for De Villiers they were error-prone in the field.

The Proteas pride themselves on the quality of their work around the pitch and their display highlighted the flaws in their performance thus far on the tour.

England punished them for their mistakes and will be determined to kill off the series with another dominant outing. The Three Lions appear to be in fine form throughout their line-up as plenty of players still have points to prove.

Therefore the only option is to take England to win the contest with Betfair at odds of -125 .

Tips Summary

England To Beat South Africa 2nd T20
Friday 23rd June 2017 17:00 BST
Odds:  -125

Jonny Bairstow To Be England’s Top Batsman
Friday 23rd June 2017 17:00 BST
Odds:  +500

David Miller To Be South Africa’s Top Batsman
Friday 23rd June 2017 17:00 BST
Odds:  +450

Mason Crane To Be England’s Top Bowler
Friday 23rd June 2017 17:00 BST
Odds:  +450