Five things to look out for as South Africa take on England in a two-match T20 series on Friday and Sunday.
Confidence is everything
Captain Faf du Plessis said at his pre-match press conference that he is looking at the bigger picture: ‘Everything is about the World Cup, so everything we do is geared towards that. If you lose 2-0, yes, it’s not ideal for preparation; it’s about ticking the stuff that you are still working on and making sure that you are improving on that. If you are in form in that tournament anything is possible.’ However, results determine confidence, which means South Africa must remain competitive and try to win these games to make sure they gain momentum.
Horses for courses
Du Plessis said he knows what his best team looks like, but that doesn’t mean the strongest XI will play every game. In fact, because conditions in South Africa differ quite a lot from those in India, where the World Cup will be held, the best team in Indian conditions might not be the best team for local conditions. They will try to give everyone some game time, but we shouldn’t read too much into team selections just yet.
Weather not playing along
Rain is forecast for the first T20 at Newlands on Friday so there is a real possibility that the game might be washed out. That leaves only the second game on Sunday, but South Africa do play Australia in three T20s in March which should be more useful to them in terms of preparation.
Miller vs Rossouw
Using two all-rounders in David Wiese and Chris Morris during the ODI series showed early signs of promise and Du Plessis is likely to persevere with the duo in the shortest format. With JP Duminy expected to bat at No 4 and Farhaan Behardien at No 5, that leaves just one spot at No 6 for either David Miller or Rilee Rossouw to fill. Miller, who missed out on entire ODI series against England, is expected to come back into the side at the expense of Rossouw.
De Kock vs Amla
According to Faf du Plessis, if AB de Villiers opens the batting, which he is expected to do, Du Plessis will bat at three. That means the selectors will have to choose between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock for the other opening spot, where De Kock is the favourite to get the nod. The wicketkeeper is the more destructive batsman between the two and with him in the side De Villiers can focus on his fielding rather than keeping wicket.