England v South Africa: T20 series preview - Barmy Army Menu
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England v South Africa: T20 series preview

England and South Africa could not be split in the ODIs, with the rained-off series decider meaning they were level after three matches.

The Tests get underway midway through August but first, there are three T20 matches packed in before the end of July.

They’ll start at the County Ground, in Bristol, this evening (6:30pm start) before facing off at Sophia Gardens, in Cardiff, tomorrow (6:30pm start) and finally wrapping up the series at the Ageas Bowl, in Southampton, on Sunday (2:30pm start).

With this autumn’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup edging ever closer, the next three games will offer both teams a chance to fine-tune and tweak things with the tournament in mind.

England

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England may have lost 2-1 in the T20 series against India but Jos Buttler will be hoping to draw on the performance in the final game at Trent Bridge, which saw his side win after batting first and setting 215.

Remarkably, Jos Buttler’s team will play 13 more games in this format before the start of the World Cup but after an up and down start to his tenure as captain, he’ll be gunning for a first series victory as skipper here.

There’s no Ben Stokes, who is rested, but Jonny Bairstow has made it clear he is fit to play amid recent concerns about a potential injury.

Harry Brook and Phil Salt look likely to be scrapping it out to take Stokes’ place in the side while Dawid Malan was the star when England rolled over South Africa in this format two years ago and will be keen to show his quality again.

Reece Topley will hope to continue his stunning form with the ball while the hosts are boosted by the return of Adil Rashid, who was absent against India having been permitted by the ECB to make The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Full squad: Jos Buttler (Lancashire) (c), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Harry Brook (Yorkshire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Richard Gleeson (Lancashire), Chris Jordan (Surrey), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Phil Salt (Lancashire), Reece Topley (Surrey), and David Willey (Yorkshire).

South Africa

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South Africa will be without captain Temba Bavuma due to an elbow injury, with David Miller captaining the side in his place, as they look to continue what has been a strong start to their tour of England.

With eight more T20s left to play before the World Cup, three matches against Buttler’s side offers the current squad a chance to make a point.

We’ve seen the threats that Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram offer with the bat but fans of the T20 Blast will recognise Somerset’s Rilee Rossouw as one to watch.

The pace department will be made up of the usual suspects for the Proteas – with Kagiso Rabada back after sitting out the ODIs – and it’s going to be interesting to see whether they opt for one or two spin options.

Full squad: David Miller (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw , Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen.

Prediction 

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Buttler and Matthew Mott are still searching for their first home series wins and though there are still plenty of T20 matches to go before the start of the World Cup, there will be plenty of players in the squad determined to make the most of their opportunities.

South Africa are a dangerous side but England looked to be on the way back to their best at the end of the India series so we may see them pick up from there and claim a 2-1 win.