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Match Facts: South Africa v England

Alex Hales could hold the key for England against strong bowling line-up led by Steyn and Tahir

Match Facts: South Africa v England - Cricket News
Hales now averages 37.8 from 29 T20I innings, maintaining a strike rate of 136.9.

England put up an impressive performance against Sri Lanka to win its first match in the ICC World Twenty20 2014, while South Africa overcame a spirited performance by The Netherlands to win its previous match by six runs. With a victory for both teams on Thursday, each one will enter into their Saturday (March 29) clash with confidence up.

England will look to Alex Hales to repeat his heroics against Sri Lanka, while South Africa has a potent bowling attack led by Dale Steyn, with Imran Tahir also impressive. A win here will considerably improve prospects of a semifinal berth for both sides. Here is a look at some facts and stats ahead of the match-up:

Key Facts:

Five of the seven completed T20Is between these teams have been won by the team batting first. The overall record reads four wins for South Africa and three for England. 

South Africa has the lost the toss in its last seven T20Is. It has elected to bat first in the last five T20Is after winning the toss. 

Alex Hales has hit three of the four highest scores by England players in T20Is, including the first English century, against Sri Lanka. 

Of players to bowl at least 100 balls in T20Is between Test-playing nations since the start of 2013, Imran Tahir has conceded the lowest percentage of boundaries (4%). 

Of players to face at least 100 balls in T20Is between Test-playing nations since the start of 2013, Ravi Bopara has the lowest dot ball percentage (24%). 

Approaching Milestones 

AB de Villiers needs 72 runs become the second player after JP Duminy to score 1,000 T20I runs for South Africa. 

AB de Villiers needs once catch to become the second player after Ross Taylor to take 30 T20I fielder catches. 

Key Battles: 

England v South Africa – Alex Hales v Imran Tahir 

Alex Hales kick-started England’s campaign in stunning style against Sri Lanka, smashing his country’s first T20I century, from just 60 balls. The former top-ranked ICC T20I batsman bounced back after a poor run of form to give the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 champions hope of reaching the semi-finals. 

Hales now averages 37.8 from 29 T20I innings, maintaining a strike rate of 136.9. Those numbers are similar to those held by Kevin Pietersen and doubts that England miss a match-winner have been alleviated by the powerful opener. 

Imran Tahir’s impact on the same day as Hales’ heroics was no less important. He turned the game against Netherlands with his team facing an upset, taking 4-21 in four overs of impressive legspin. He combines restriction with a wicket-taking threat and is becoming as important a figure in the Proteas’ attack as Dale Steyn.