England look to extend dominance against weakened South Africa ahead of Commonwealth Games

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The last time England played a multi-format series, they could not win a match against Australia. Fast forward to five months after that campaign, the World Cup runner-ups are up and running, having already won the series against South Africa with two T20Is left and a scoreline of 10-2. On the other hand, the visitors are yet to win a match. 

What’s at stake?

The remaining series is vital from the South African perspective as they would like to win a couple of matches ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Since landing in England, South Africa have had to endure several hardships, including multiple injuries, the sudden retirement of their prolific opener, Lizelle Lee, and Marizanne Kapp’s withdrawal from the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. 

South Africa, under the leadership of Sune Luus, would like to look into their options within the resources available to them. Cricket South Africa have added top-order batter Tazmin Brits for the rest of the series. They are yet to decide the changes in the squad for the Commonwealth Games. 

It looks like England are peaking at the right time ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Sophia Dunkley, who got the opportunity to open the batting in the absence of Tammy Beaumont, made the most of that opportunity with a fine half-century, her third consecutive 50+ score across formats. Katherine Brunt is close to playing her 100th match in the format, and her class was on display in the first T20I in full glory. 

Also Read: Katherine Brunt continues to sharpen her knives and promises more

Players to watch out for:

Sophia Dunkley: The right-handed batter, who recently celebrated her 24th birthday, has been in a supreme touch since the second half of the World Cup in New Zealand. Her half-century against the same opposition in the semi-final of the World Cup was instrumental for England. She opened the batting with Danielle Wyatt in the absence of Tammy Beaumont, and delivered with a half-century. England would like to have her in the same form with the Commonwealth Games around the corner.

Shabnim Ismail: In the absence of Kapp, the bulk of the responsibility of leading the bowling attack will fall on Ismail, who has been struggling with injuries throughout the series. Ayabonga Khaka took her best figures against England in the first T20I, but it was not enough to take them over the line. South Africa are going to need some spark to make a comeback in the series, and Ismail can provide that. 

Numbers:

  • Shabnim Ismail needs four wickets to go past Ellyse Perry to become the second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is
  • Katherine Brunt needs one wicket to go past Anya Shrubsole to become the highest wicket-taker in T20Is for England
  • Amy Jones needs 58 runs to complete 1000 runs in T20Is

 

Predicted XI:

Even though England have made a lot of changes in the playing XI throughout the series, they would like to go with the same group in the second match given the proximity of the Commonwealth Games.

Given the circumstances around the availability of their players, South Africa would like to give Tazmin Brits a go in the T20Is. 

England: Danielle Wyatt, Sophia Dunkley, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Amy Jones (wk), Maia Bouchier, Bryony Smith, Sophie Ecclestone, Katherine Brunt, Issy Wong, Sarah Glenn

South Africa:  Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits , Sune Luus (c), Laura Wolvaardt, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon,  Delmi Tucker, Sinalo Jafta (wk), Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka