Dominant England look to seal multi-format series against South Africa in CWG curtain raiser

Danni Wyatt and Laura Wolvaardt will be key for their teams. © Getty Images

England dominated the one-off Test before blanking South Africa 3-0 in the ODI series. A win in the first T20I will make them the winners of the multi-format series. South Africa have been one of the more consistent ODI sides. They had won each of their six previous series in the format before getting clean swept by England.

What’s at stake?

With both these teams drawn in the same group at the Commonwealth Games – they are also the two highest seeds in their group – there will be bragging rights up for grabs.

Another priority for these two teams will be to sort out their top three ahead of the Commonwealth Games. South Africa’s long-term opener and leading run-getter in the format, Lizelle Lee announced her retirement ahead of the ODI leg.

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England also took the brave call of dropping the supremely in form opener Tammy Beaumont and off spinner Charlie Dean from their T20 squad. Heather Knight hinted at her batting at no.5 and Sophia Dunkley batting in the top three like she did in the ODIs but England also have the option of using Bryony Smith and Alice Capsey as Danielle Wyatt’s opening partner.

Players to watch out for:

Danielle Wyatt: England’s most prolific T20 batter of the last six years didn’t get many deliveries to face in the three ODIs but she showed that she remains in sublime touch by bashing 55 runs off the 25 deliveries she faced in the series.

She remained not out in each of the first two matches and was only dismissed once in the series. T20 remains her best format and she’s often at her most dangerous against high quality pace attacks, like she showed during the World Cup semifinal earlier this year against South Africa.

Laura Wolvaardt: Nobody has scored more ODI runs than Laura Wolvaardt in 2022. With Lee no longer a part of international cricket, South Africa will rely a lot more on Wolvaardt.

She is a much improved player in the T20 format in the last three years and scored runs by the bucketful for Barmy Army in the FairBreak invitational as well as Velocity in the Women’s T20 Challenge in India, including almost pulling off a memorable heist in the final.

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Wolvaardt got two fifties in the ODIs and scored at a rate that was much higher than her career strike rate. She will have to convert those fifties into even bigger scores if South Africa are to get their first win of what has been a very challenging series for them.

Captain Suné Luus confirmed in the pre-match presser that Wolvaardt would continue to bat at no. 4 and not open the batting for South Africa.

Numbers:

  • Danielle Wyatt needs 34 runs more to become the second English batter to score 2000 runs in the format after Sarah Taylor.
  • Katherine Brunt needs two more wickets to join Anya Shrubsole on the list of English bowlers with 100 wickets in the format.
  • Suné Luus is four wickets away from being the fourth South African to reach 50 T20I wickets.

Predicted XI:

England have as many as six new players in their T20I squad who were not a part of the ODI leg. Knight said that the team will look to play their best XI and not look to experiment too much.

South Africa might have to open with Lara Goodall and Anneke Bosch as their first-choice openers. They will also be bolstered by the return of former captain Mignon du Preez, who’s now only active in the T20 format internationally.

England: Danielle Wyatt, Sophia Dunkley, Alice Capsey, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Amy Jones (wk), Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross, Sarah Glenn, Freya Davies

South Africa: Lara Goodall, Anneke Bosch, Marizanne Kapp, Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Suné Luus (c), Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Nadine de Klerk, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka