Five talking points ahead of South Africa’s first World T20 match against England in Mumbai.
Food for thought
A few weeks ago, South Africa’s batting line-up for the World T20 looked set. AB de Villiers was going to open the batting with Quinton de Kock, with Faf du Plessis at No 3 and JP Duminy at No 4. Then De Kock was rested for the series against England and Hashim Amla shined with the bat. In the last T20 against Australia, De Villiers was rested with a slight shoulder niggle and Amla was brought back, scoring an unbeaten 97. Suddenly those clear plans seem very uncertain now. Should De Villiers move back to No 4 to accommodate Amla? Only time will tell. How flexible does Du Plessis want to be?
No, not in the conditions at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai where South Africa play their first two games. Faf du Plessis intimated as much when he talked about the pitch on Thursday, comparing it to the Wanderers in South Africa. It’s the same ground where the Proteas smashed 438 in the fifth ODI against India last year to clinch the series.
England have an inexperienced bowling attack and with South Africa’s strong batting line-up they should exploit this weakness and make the powerplay count. The series in South Africa should have no bearing on the game, but England are under immense pressure after losing their first game against the West Indies. If their already inexperienced bowling attack are put under pressure early, it might give South Africa the upper hand they need to get off to a winning start.
AB’s happy hunting ground
De Villiers has scored a T20 and ODI hundred at the Wankhede stadium in the last two games he played there, which is a good sign for the Proteas. He smashed a hundred there in the IPL last year and again during the fifth ODI against India in October to help South Africa clinch that series. Wherever he bats, England have to get him early. If they don’t, carnage could follow.
Win the toss and bowl
Chasing on this ground might not be a bad idea. The West Indies batted second in their victory over England but more importantly, Du Plessis conceded on Thursday that because the conditions are similar to those in South Africa, and specifically the Wanderers, it might not be clear to the team batting first what a good total is. The Proteas have done well chasing in recent times and have put that handicap behind them. Time to put it to the test if Du Plessis wins the toss. Also, the dew that forms in the evenings will make it difficult for the team bowling at night.