Sport England vs South Africa: Eoin Morgan vs Kagiso Rabada and other key battles
England's clash with Australia can provide a World Cup X-Factor
LAWRENCE BOOTH IN DUBAI: Victory for either Australia or England will put them within touching distance of the semis, as well as provide the earliest of bragging-rights ahead of the first Ashes Test.While England have so far demolished West Indies and Bangladesh, the Australians have put some dismal pre-tournament form behind them to see off South Africa and Sri Lanka. The only other 100 per cent record belongs to Pakistan, who made it three Super 12 wins out of three against Afghanistan.
England and South Africa will clash in a key T20 World Cup fixture in Sharjah on Saturday.
The English have all but booked a berth in the semi-finals, while the Proteas are still chasing a definite spot among the final four teams.
There will be several head-to-head battles within the war. Here are five intriguing matchups to key an eye on for England vs South Africa.
Jos Buttler vs Aiden Markram
Buttler has been an absolute monster at the top of the England order this tournament. He is literally averaging over 200, which has been inflated by three not outs. His 101 not out against Sri Lanka was spectacular.
Rabada, Nortje star as South Africa thrash Bangladesh
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje stole the show as South Africa boosted their hopes of semi-final qualification with a comprehensive six-wicket win over Bangladesh.Bangladesh came into the contest on the back of three consecutive defeats against Sri Lanka, England and West Indies, and their woes were compounded by the absence of their talisman Shakib Al Hasan.
The hard-hitting right-hander enjoys pace early, but could face a tough challenge against part-time spinner Aiden Markram, who South Africa have deployed with the new ball on occasion.
Markram, too, has been excellent with the bat. His stint with the Punjab Kings in the 2021 IPL in similar conditions has evidently helped.
Very proud day for me and great character from the boys! I love this team!!
— Jos Buttler (@josbuttler)
Eoin Morgan vs Kagiso Rabada
Morgan hardly batted against the West Indies – and was not needed at the crease versus Bangladesh and Australia – before putting in a decent shift against Sri Lanka.
This lean stretch of match batting practice and, prior, indifferent form for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 IPL might be tough to turn around against a Proteas pace attack spearheaded by Rabada.
Roy injury blow as England reach World T20 semis
England sealed their T20 World Cup semi-final place – but lost their unbeaten record and opener Jason Roy, who was injured during a 10-run defeat to South Africa.Roy pulled up with a calf strain as he responded to Jos Buttler's call for a single and was visibly emotional as he had to be helped from the field, making him a serious doubt for the remainder of the tournament.
Video: Ben Stokes a massive Ashes boost for underdogs England (Cricket365)
Rabada’s fight and fire is epitomising South Africa’s quest for a maiden T20 World Cup title. He should relish this opportunity against Morgan, Buttler and company.
Adil Rashid vs David Miller
South Africa have faced a couple of excellent limited-overs leg-spinners in Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga and Australian Adam Zampa in the United Arab Emirates.
They’ll likely be up against another here in England’s Adil Rashid. With Tymal Mills sidelined by injury, Rashid is now England’s lone top wicket-taker at the tournament.
He will need to be at his best against the left-handed David Miller, who can be aggressive over the leg-side against the ball turning into him. Rashid’s variations, especially the one that turns away from the left-hander, could be key.
T20 World Cup result: England reach semis despite loss to South Africa
Result not enough for the Proteas.This time it was the turn of van Der Dussen (94 off 60), in front of thousands in Sharjah, to show off his ability with the bat yet again with an innings of the highest class as South Africa became the first side to defeat England at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with a 10 run victory.
Mark Wood vs Quinton de Kock
Wood will likely enter the England XI as a replacement for Mills. They possess similar pace, but England will miss Mills’ slower variation from the back of the hand.
If Wood is given the new ball, he’ll be bowling it at the hard-hitting de Kock, whose form has not been great this tournament.
He’s had to deal with off-field issues and these might be affecting his on-field role. Wood will go hard at de Kock. De Kock will go hard at Wood. This is shaping up to be the best battle of the lot.
Moeen Ali vs Tabraiz Shamsi
It’s possible Ali will be at the crease when Shamsi bowls the core or entirety of his four-over allotment. It will be really interesting to see how South Africa’s left-arm wrist-spinner goes against England’s industrious left-hander.
We should witness some pretty inventive cricket from both parties here. Stay tuned.Share on TwitterTweet
T20 World Cup Stats: Buttler plays longest innings .
The top stats as Jos Buttler plays the T20 World Cup's longest innings and Kagiso Rabada take an unusual hat-trick.Jos Buttler's unbeaten 101 against Sri Lanka was the longest innings in T20 World Cup history in terms of balls faced, with his 67-ball knock surpassing the 66-ball innings played by Marlon Samuels (85 not out) against England in the 2016 final and by Chris Gayle (out for 98) against India in Barbados in 2010.