Five things to look out for as South Africa take their 1-0 lead in the series to the final T20I at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Expect a change or two
Faf du Plessis admitted after Friday night’s game at Newlands that they might make some changes to the team for the Wanderers game, but what those changes will be is difficult to predict. Quinton de Kock is being rested for this two-match series and after their impressive performances it would be hard to drop Imran Tahir, David Wiese or Chris Morris. It would actually make more sense to keep the same team as players like David Miller and Rilee Rossouw need the game time. It might be worth giving AB de Villiers a rest and moving Rossouw up the order, but that move is probably doubtful.
Amla still adds value in this format
He can’t get an IPL contract, but Hashim Amla remains a capable T20 batsman and was among South Africa’s best on Friday night. He might only be playing because Quinton de Kock is being rested, which means he must use these opportunities to make it hard for the selectors to drop him when De Kock eventually returns.
Duminy needs some confidence
While JP Duminy has under-performed in Tests and ODIs, his record in T20 cricket is not in question. However, you get the feeling he senses that his time as an automatic selection in the team has come to an end. Duminy was dropped for the all-important fifth ODI against England at his home ground, despite coach Russell Domingo defending the player afterwards. Domingo argued that Duminy was not in the bad form many would have us believe, yet he was left out of that game. Domingo implied that they wanted to protect Duminy from the criticism by saying: ‘As much as people try and keep criticism away from you and media speculation and constant scrutiny, it can weigh you down, and that was the feeling [to play Rossouw instead]. Duminy is a key player for South Africa in this format and needs to get his confidence back before the World T20 starts.
One thing that has become clear with England’s new attacking way of playing cricket is that will always give you chances to get them out. Du Plessis alluded to that after the game when he said that England’s attacking game plan gives the opposition plenty of chances. While their approach can certainly be exciting when it works, it does put them under severe pressure when it doesn’t. Captain Eoin Morgan said they would continue to play this way despite losing their last four games on tour. Fielding continues to be one of the big differences between the two sides and if South Africa can grab their chances they should always be in with a chance to win the game.
Wiese makes a difference
David Wiese’s figures of 1-19 in four overs was excellent. As the fifth bowler in the side his bowling is very important because the better he bowls the less Faf du Plessis has to call on JP Duminy to help out. While this may still happen in India, it was good to see Wiese make a useful contribution with the ball and Chris Morris with the bat. Batting all the way down to No 8 gives South Africa good depth and it’s hard to see the two all-rounders not form part of the strongest team.