Home side leads 1-0 in T20I series going into final game in Johannesburg
It has been a riveting two months of cricket in South Africa as the home side and England have scrapped for glory in every arena possible. While the visiting side, under Alastair Cook, emphatically won the four-match Test series 2-1, AB de Villiers's men came from behind to get the better of Eoin Morgan's side 3-2 in the One-Day Internationals.
With South Africa taking a 1-0 lead in the Twenty20 Internationals, it seems only fitting that the final bragging rights will be decided on the final day of this see-saw tour. And so the stage is set in Johannesburg for Sunday (February 21).
South Africa, having won the last four games – and been in blistering form in the fifth before rain denied it – have the momentum. In Cape Town of Friday, Chris Morris played a brilliant knock under pressure and kept his head for a last-ball three-wicket win as South Africa knocked off the 15 runs it needed off the final over.
The batting collapse towards the end will concern South Africa, but it found several pieces of the puzzle falling into place as it gears up for the ICC World T20 2016 in India next month. Imran Tahir starred with 4 for 21 to equal his career-best figures and the performance of its legspinner, who is expected to play a big role in its campaign in India, bodes well for the team.
England, meanwhile, will believe it deserves to sign off with a win after doing so much right for much of the tour, not least of all in Friday's match. Its bowlers, led by Chris Jordan, came close to defending its 134 for 8. It will know that if Reece Topley, who was bowling the last over, had cleanly collected the throw from long off and effected a run-out off the last ball, there might have been a very different story.
With mostly clear skies expected over the New Wanderers Stadium, the batsmen from both sides – who have been in explosive form but seemed thrown by the overcast conditions at Cape Town – are expected to have the final say. And with the teams set to face off in the World T20 in Mumbai on March 18, the repercussions of a win would be long felt by both competitors.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, James Vince.