Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Preview: England vs South Africa

Big One. The time has come and only one side can progress. It is a contest between the number one ranked side in the world, when the World Cup began, South Africa, and Commonwealth Bank Series winners England. The side that wins the toss in Barbados will hope to bat and put a decent total on the board and then exploit the uncertainties in the pitch in the second half. If Michael Vaughan can remain a lucky tosser (some would say being selected is one such example!) then England really need to make the best of the track once they have seen off the new ball. They will then rely heavily on Kevin Pietersen, playing against his old country, to get stuck in and increase the tempo.

South Africa's bowling line-up has been the subject of much debate, made up exclusively of seamers. Barbados has proved to be a pitch which is slightly more favourable for the pace bowler than spinner though and so their all seam attack may be well suited to conditions. Andre Nel has regularly impressed against England although it is a surprise not to see Makaya Ntini in the side. Given England's struggles against spin and larger degree of familiarity with pace, the South African approach could also play into their hands, especially Andrew Strauss who likes playing them. If England win the toss and bat with composure they should win, with the larger variety they have within their bowling attack. However, if South Africa get off to a flyer, no total, whether setting or chasing, is ever quite big enough. Jaques Kallis has been out of sorts recently though so England have a chance. England tend to rise to the big occasion, are South Africa still chokers though?

Prediction: Dare I say England? I can only hope.

Players to watch: Andrew Strauss and Andre Nel.

1 comment:

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