SA vs. ENG: 1st T20I – My Playing XI

With South Africa’s T20I series against England starting this week, I gave some thought on who I’d like to see picked for the first game.

As previously stated, I am a firm believer that KG Rabada should be rested for this T20I series. His workload needs to be managed, and given that the World Cup Super League is in effect, South Africa need to make sure key players are available for that. Which means, a rested Rabada, who is rearing to go.

It’s very pleasing that the selectors have finally given Keshav Maharaj a shot in the limited overs game, and I believe he has a lot to offer. But for the first game, I really would like to see George Linde as the spinner. He bowls well, and intelligently and keeps things tight. He is also incredibly useful with the bat. Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin can be used throughout the summer as there will be plenty of opportunities to do so.

Even though Janneman Malan hasn’t had the best of starts to the four-day series, I still think he is a good opening partner for Quinton de Kock. They work well together, had a very successful partnership in last year’s MSL and complement each other well. T20I cricket is also a good format for Janneman Malan to find some form again.

I would then have Faf du Plessis at number 3, for the experience he brings to the table. He’s a good player of both pace and spin and as the former captain, he’s able to provide support to the new captain, de Kock. Reeza Hendricks is a solid T20 cricketer so I would have him coming in next. His ability to strike the ball far, and nudge it around for the ones and twos will be invaluable in rotating the strike – something the Proteas struggle with at times.

The time has come to move on from David Miller, he has had more than enough opportunities to cement his place in the side, and has failed to do so. Therefore, the Proteas need to look to the future. To that end, Heinrich Klaasen and Kyle Verreynne add some depth and stability to the middle/lower order. They are both attacking cricketers and not afraid of a fight or having to dig themselves out of a tough situation. We have seen that against Australia earlier this year, and also most recently, Verreynne’s performances with the bat, in the four-day series for the Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras has been nothing short of brilliant.

My chosen all-rounder for the first T20I is Andile Phehlukwayo, who despite having lost some spark in his batting in recent times, is still very handy with the ball. He has good variation, and has the ability to bowl at the death which is important.

Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi make up the pace attack, along with Glenton Stuurman, who I hope to see making his maiden international debut. I believe these three will be able to execute game plans incredibly well. The extra pace of Nortje and Stuurman and the ability to bowl the perfect straight yorker, which I hope to see a lot of, should limit the power of England’s attacking batting lineup.

Provided all players chosen are fit and healthy, and aren’t any of the four players currently in isolation due to Covid-19, this is my playing XI:

Keep in mind, this is my playing XI for the first T20I only, not the entire series. Players like Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen will have plenty of opportunities to play in the rest of the series, as players gets rotated. This is a nice time to give other young players a chance.

Catch all the action of the first T20I on Friday evening, at 6pm, with the toss at 5:30pm.

Posted in The Popping Crease.