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Match Preview – England vs South Africa, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 39th Match, Group 1

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To put themselves in a comfortable position, they need a big win against red-hot England – so they have a better NRR than Australia

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There are no quarterfinals at this T20 World Cup but South Africa have found themselves in one anyway – in a win-or-go-home match against England. If the latter happens, many will see it as a case of same-old-South-Africa when in fact, they’ve done better than expected so far.

Though South Africa came into the T20 World Cup on the back of three successive series wins, two of those were against teams that needed to qualify for the Super 12 and the third was against West Indies. There was also an avalanche of administrative turmoil. Then, they lost their opening match to Australia and risked complete implosion after a Cricket South Africa board directive that instructed the team to take the knee ahead of their remaining games instead of continuing with their three-pronged approach of different gestures. Quinton de Kock initially refused to comply with the instruction and sat out South Africa’s second game but has since u-turned. Instead of derailing South Africa, the issue brought them closer. They’ve gone on to win their last three matches and though de Kock hasn’t contributed many runs, they are finding those elsewhere, albeit slowly. That will have to change against the big-hitters that are England.
With a style of play that is uncompromisingly clinical, England have polished off three small targets quickly – their 56-run chase against West Indies inside nine overs is the best example – and defended well on the only occasion they were made to do that, against Sri Lanka. Even with their most successful seamer, Tymal Mills, ruled out of the tournament due to injury, they remain among the favourites to win and this match gives them an opportunity to sample a new bowling combination ahead of the real knockouts next week.

England are already guaranteed a place in the last four but will want to avoid facing Pakistan in the semi-finals by ensuring they finish on top of this group. That gives them a major incentive to push for victory, although losing by a close enough margin to ensure their net run-rate doesn’t dip below the second-place finisher will also do.

South Africa will also have an eye on net run rate, more so once they know the outcome of Australia’s match against West Indies. An Australian victory will put them on the same number of points as England, so not only will South Africa need to beat England, but they will have to have a better net run rate than Australia. If Australia lose, the equation is simpler for South Africa – just win – but that will not be straightforward. England are in red-hot form and have won their last five T20Is against South Africa.

Form guide

England WWWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
South AfricaWWWLW

In the spotlight

Chris Jordan is England’s leading T20I wicket-taker and a trusted lieutenant to Eoin Morgan, offering advice to the rest of the bowling attack throughout the innings. He was expensive in South Africa and India last winter but has conceded only 5.25 runs an over during this World Cup and his importance at the back end of an innings will be emphasised by the absence of the injured Mills, England’s other specialist death bowler.

Anrich Nortje has been South Africa’s most successful bowler of the tournament so far, with eight wickets at 8.75, an average only bettered by four other bowlers, all of whom have fewer wickets than him. Nortje’s pace, aggression and accuracy has stood out and he now has the opportunity to make a big statement in South Africa’s biggest match.

Team news

Mark Wood, who is yet to feature due to an ankle problem, is the likely replacement for Mills if he gets through training on Friday, though Morgan stressed England would be “patient” with his return. David Willey, Tom Curran and Reece Topley are the alternatives if Wood is not risked.

England: (possible) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood

South Africa will consider the option of three specialist spinners but left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin has not played a match in the tournament so far. It’s more likely South Africa will be unchanged.

South Africa: (possible) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Temba Bavuma (capt), 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

Pitch and conditions

While Sharjah was talked up as being the most difficult batting venue ahead of the tournament, it has proved quite the opposite. Despite its low bounce, in the Super 12s, Sharjah has had the highest scoring rate per over of 7.63 and the most sixes hit. The smaller boundaries have meant that in six Super 12 matches, Sharjah averages 10.5 sixes per game while Dubai and Abu Dhabi are at 8.8 and 7.4 respectively. The match will take place on the same pitch as the New Zealand-Namibia game, and is expected to similarly slow. There’ll also be dew to contend with, as early as midway through the first innings, which will be a first for South Africa, who have had day games to date.

Stats and trivia

  • England have won their last five T20Is against South Africa.
  • South Africa’s top five have the fourth lowest strike rate in the Super 12s – 107.52 – behind Scotland, Bangladesh and Namibia. England’s top five have the highest – 137.10.
  • Quotes

    “I certainly don’t think it’s a wicket where you can take a lot of confidence away from batting quite a period of time on it – I don’t think many of the guys felt ‘in’ regardless of how they batted. But being in that fight for the game is going to be extremely important if the wicket stays the same.”
    Eoin Morgan expects Sharjah’s low bounce will keep challenging batters

    “It has been labeled as a quarterfinal for us. It’s a must-win game. I think that’s the main point. Irrespective of where Australia is within the group, we want to win that game, and we’ll be striving to do so. What’s happening with Australia, West Indies, I guess what helps us is that their game happens before our game, so we’ll kind of get a better sense or understanding as to how we need to approach the England game. If Australia win, then it’s going to come down to net run rate. We’ll have an opportunity, I guess, somewhere along our game to control our net run rate or alter our approach.”
    Temba Bavuma sees the advantage of Australia’s match against West Indies happening earlier in the day

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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    South Africa vs Netherlands 2021

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    Although Netherlands are unable to catch a flight out, it is understood the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play

    The second and third ODIs between South Africa and Netherlands have been postponed after concerns around a new Coronavirus variant, Omicron. The first match in the series, which forms part of the World Cup Super League, was washed out on Friday, leaving the teams sharing five points each. That keeps Netherlands in last place on the points table, and South Africa in ninth, outside the automatic qualification zone.

    Although Netherlands will be in South Africa for the duration of the series because they are unable to catch a flight out, ESPNcricinfo understands that the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play. On Friday, their coach Ryan Campbell tweeted that the team played with “unbelievable pressure hanging over their heads,” after travel restrictions began to affect the southern African region.

    “We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount,” Pholetsi Moseki, CSA’s acting CEO, said. “The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view.

    “CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023.”

    “We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position,” Jurgen Delfos, chairman of Netherlands cricket board, said. “

    It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted. Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts.”

    The United Kingdom, United States, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have all banned travel to and from countries in southern Africa, and imposed a quarantine on their own citizens returning from the region in response to Omicron.

    News of a new variant was first made public on Tuesday, November 23 and cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa, where the Netherlands series is taking place, have increased severalfold since. Although South Africa is only reporting around 2,000 new cases a day, there are concerns this will rise exponentially and stricter restrictions are due to be introduced soon. South Africa is currently on Level 1 of 5 of its restrictions, the most lenient since the pandemic began, and the first ODI was the first time since March 2020 that cricket was played in front of a limited crowd, but the government is meeting on Saturday to discuss further measures.

    As yet there is no indication of how this will affect the rest of the cricket calendar. India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches against South Africa A in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is continuing. India’s senior side is due to travel to South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four ODIs on December 8. India has not imposed any restrictions on southern African travelers to date, but has stricter testing measures for people from the region in place.

    Last summer, South Africa’s season was severely impacted after England left the country early without playing the ODI leg of their white-ball tour and Australia pulled out of a four-Test series which was pencilled in as the marquee event of the summer. Sri Lanka and Pakistan both toured the country without incident in strict bio-bubble conditions, which Cricket South Africa will replicate for the India series.

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent





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    Recent Match Report – Scorchers Wm vs StrikersWmn Final 2021/22

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    The home side finished strongly with the bat and started superbly with the ball in the powerplay

    Perth Scorchers 5 for 146 beat Adelaide Strikers 6 for 134 by 12 runs

    Marizanne Kapp, who had been ill all week in the lead-up to the WBBL final and barely left her hotel room, produced a critical all-round display to help Perth Scorchers claim their maiden title as Adelaide Strikers’ powerful late-tournament surge came to a halt at Optus Stadium.
    In front of a crowd of 15,511, the highest for a standalone WBBL match, the defining passages of the match were how Scorchers finished their batting innings and then started with the ball: their final five overs brought 47 runs, with vital hands from Player of the Match Kapp and Alana King, then they restricted Strikers to 2 for 16 in their powerplay with Kapp’s first two overs costing just two runs and Sophie Devine producing a wicket maiden.

    The middle order did their best to keep Strikers in the match with useful hands but it proved out of reach despite Madeline Penna’s best efforts with 30 not out off 21 balls.

    Kapp produced some superb deliveries to build the pressure on Strikers’ openers and it was Devine who earned the reward when Katie Mack’s extraordinary run of scoring was halted as he she drove to cover. Before this match Mack had made 332 runs in her last six innings for just one out.

    Without a run added van Niekerk also departed, edging Taneale Peschel down the leg side, and by the end of the powerplay the asking rate was above nine an over.

    Laura Wolvaardt and captain Tahlia McGrath rebuilt with a stand of 65 in eight overs which was forming a base from where Strikers could have run down the target. However, both fell within the space of six balls carving catches to the off-side ring which meant new batters had little time to get set.

    The prolific Scorchers opening pair of Devine and Beth Mooney made a solid if unspectacular start after being put into bat, reaching 0 for 37 after the powerplay. They were immediately aggressive against Amanda-Jade Wellington who conceded more in her first four balls than she did the entire record-breaking Eliminator spell, although she would fight back well.

    Neither opener could really cut loose and Strikers started to chip away at the top order. Mooney picked out mid-off, Devine was run out by a direct hit by Dane van Niekerk from short third and Chloe Piparo edged Darcie Brown who was rewarded for some rapid outswing bowling.

    At 3 for 75 in the 12th the innings was at a tipping point and there was caution from Kapp and Heather Graham which threatened to leave Scorchers short. However, Kapp started to find the boundary and King made a dynamic late entrance with three boundaries in a five-ball stay.

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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    Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021-22 in Zimbabwe called off following concerns over new Covid-19 variant

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    The tournament cannot be rescheduled, as the ODI World Cup is scheduled for March-April 2022

    The women’s ODI World Cup qualifying event in Zimbabwe has been called off after travel restrictions were imposed on large parts of southern Africa following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, called Omicron, in the region. With the marquee event scheduled to take place next year in March and April, the qualifier cannot be held at a later date, and the three remaining spots will be decided according to the ICC rankings.

    Hosts New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India have already qualified for the tournament. They will now be joined by Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan.

    The news will be a disappointment to Thailand, who do not have a ranking at the moment, but beat Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in the tournament. Bangladesh were on top of Group B with wins over Pakistan and USA, while West Indies topped Group A after beating Ireland.

    ESPNcricinfo has learned that the cutoff date for the women’s ODI rankings taken into consideration for deciding on the final three teams for 2022 ODI World Cup was September 30. Between the start of the pandemic and August 31, 2021, Pakistan played eight ODIs, winning two, West Indies played 10, winning three and having one tied, while Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh played none. Bangladesh, however, are understood to have been well ahead of Ireland and Sri Lanka on the rankings for more than a year.

    Concerns over the future of the qualifier were raised on Saturday morning when the match between Sri Lanka and West Indies was called off without a ball bowled. ESPNcricinfo understands that the fixture could not be played because a member of the Sri Lankan support staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

    “We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice, there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home,” Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, said.

    “We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn’t feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.”

    There had already been a few positive Covid-19 tests in the Sri Lanka camp after reaching Zimbabwe, the last of which was detected prior to their match against Netherlands on Tuesday. That match did go ahead with Sri Lanka winning a rain-affected fixture by 34 runs.

    On the whole, Zimbabwe’s caseload remains relatively low at under 135,000, with fewer than 5000 deaths. However, with travel in and out of the country becoming increasingly difficult, the qualifier had to be scrapped for logistical reasons. Emirates Airline, which flew the teams into Harare, is understood to be suspending the route in the coming days.

    The variant was first discovered in Botswana and has infected several hundred people in neighbouring South Africa, which is on the brink of a fourth wave of infection. The UK, USA, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand have all suspended travel to and from countries in southern Africa, putting several international events in doubt.

    The women’s World Cup qualifiers got underway on Sunday, November 21, amid low case numbers in southern Africa, but Papua New Guinea had been “forced to withdraw” from the tournament at the start of the month due to a slew of infections in the camp. News of a new variant was first made public on Tuesday, November 23, and cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa have increased several fold since. Although South Africa is reporting around 2000 new cases a day, there are concerns this will rise exponentially and stricter restrictions are due to be introduced soon. South Africa is currently on Level 1 of 5 of its restrictions, the most lenient since the pandemic began.
    The Netherlands men’s team is currently in South Africa playing a World Cup Super League ODI series and have two matches left to play. A decision on whether those are going to go ahead will be taken today.

    India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is known to be on schedule, since the region is regarded as safe. India’s senior side is due to travel to South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four ODIs on December 8. India has not imposed any restrictions on southern African travellers yet, but has installed stricter testing measures for people from the region.



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