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Anrich Nortje

Speedsters in focus as South Africa, England face-off

SA v ENG, 1st T20I, Preview

With South Africa and England featuring express pace bowlers in the ranks, the utilisation of those options may well go on to determine the outcome of the three-match T20I series.

South Africa vs England, 1st T20I
Newlands, Cape Town
Friday, 27 November, 06:00pm local time, 04:00pm GMT

In the Indian Premier League, which was the last major tournament they featured in, the likes of South Africa's Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, and England's Jofra Archer had a major impact. The three express pacemen will likely meet again during the T20I series, while England will also have the services of Mark Wood at their disposal.

Wood, who didn't feature in the IPL, played up the potential pace battle.Β "To have two English lads,Β me and Jofra, come across against the two South African lads in the upcoming series, I think it'll be quite exciting to see how we both combat each other," he said earlier this month. "The game has moved on so much. You need the variations but ultimately, if you get it right at that speed, then it's hard to deal with."

The teams appear to be reasonably well balanced in other departments too. When the teams faced off in February this year, England won two closely-contested matches after South Africa claimed the first T20I by just one run.

For South Africa, a tendency to implode with the bat has cost them dear every now and then. During their series against Australia in February – their most recent T20I series – they were shot out for scores of 89 and 96. That is an aspect Quinton de Kock and co. will be desperate to fix.

Remember the last time

The sides last squared off nine months ago. After South Africa won the first T20I by one run England clinched the next one by two runs before closing the series out with a five-wicket win in a chase of 223. England captain Eoin Morgan was the Player of the Series, having scored 136 runs at 68, striking at 170.

What they said

Quinton de Kock, South Africa captain:Β "When you look at their squad there are a lot of guys to watch out for, you can't pick just one guy. Any player in the England team, if they come off they can really hurt you."

Eoin Morgan, England captain:Β "Winning at the moment would be great but for us, given the luxury in players we have at our disposal, it's more important that we get their roles right and they feel comfortable within that."

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