Sharjah, Nov 6 (IANS) South Africa will have the benefit of knowing exactly what they have to do to go through to the semifinals of the ICC T20 World Cup when they take on the Eoin Morgan-led England in a late-evening ‘Super 12’ game on Saturday.
With Australia playing the afternoon Group 1 game against the embattled West Indies on Saturday, the Proteas will get a clear picture of the scenarios needed to qualify for the last-4 stage ahead of the Aaron Finch-led side.
Both South Africa and Australia are on six points from four games, though the former are third in the Group 1 standings because of inferior Net Run Rate (NRR). England are leading the group with eight points from four outings.
South African skipper Temba Bavuma labelled the clash against England as a quarterfinal. If the Proteas lose later on Saturday, they will be out of the competition. “It’s been labelled as a quarterfinal for us; it’s a must-win game. I think that’s the main point. I guess what helps us is that Australia’s game happens before our game, so we’ll get a better understanding of how we need to approach it. We’ll have an opportunity, somewhere along our game, to control our net run rate or alter our approach.”
South Africa will have to defeat England and also maintain a healthy NRR. But for the Proteas, beating a tough England side is not out of the question, as they have impressed as a unit with three wins from four matches.
“We are not relying on one or two superstars to get us over the line, our whole team is contributing,” said Dwaine Pretorius. “There’s a lot of guys that have got in, scored runs. Our team is in a very good space. What astonishes me is how this team has struck together. It doesn’t really matter what controversy comes out or what is happening at board level or CSA level. The guys are forming a family.
“We are not going to stop fighting until the last ball is bowled. We are not going to leave anything to chance. That’s our promise to each other in the team every day,” said Pretorius.
But Morgan’s side aren’t going to underestimate a South African team they have faced frequently in the last couple of years, particularly not at a ground that fails to play to England’s strengths.
“The conditions we had out in South Africa and when I played in Cardiff against them are totally different to the ones that we’re going to have here,” England batter Dawid Malan said.
“They’re obviously a really strong team and they’ve got some fantastic bowlers, especially at Sharjah, with the way that (Anrich) Nortje and (Kagiso) Rabada bowl their lengths when they bowl there. A slower wicket that keeps slightly low – I think that suits them quite a lot.
“But I hope that what I’ve done in the past against them, I can take that forward into this game with what I’ve learned from facing their bowlers and how I’ve gone about scoring against them,” added Malan.
Mark Wood is yet to feature in the tournament for England but, fitness-permitting, will come into the side in place of Tymal Mills, who has been forced to withdraw. Tom Curran is an alternative if Wood fails to prove his fitness.
South Africa are expected to be unchanged, although the option of going at England with an extra spinner in Bjorn Fortuin will be tempting.
Probable England XI: Roy, Buttler, Malan, Bairstow, Morgan (captain), Livingstone, Ali, Woakes, Jordan, Rashid, Wood.
Probable South Africa XI: De Kock, Hendricks, Bavuma (captain), Markram, Van der Dussen, Miller, Pretorius, Rabada, Maharaj, Nortje, Shamsi.