We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
It’s a batting wicket through and through at Southampton. India posted 198 for 8 earlier this month, to which England responded with 148 all out, courtesy of their all-or-nothing brand of cricket.
Probable XI for England: Jason Roy/Phillip Salt, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran/David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Richard Gleeson, Reece Topley
Probable XI for South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rilee Rossouw, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller (c), Tristan Stubbs, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
For the English cricket fans, Rile Rossouw’s innings was a common sight. He may be playing for South Africa after six years, but all this while, he had been scoring runs by the bucket in the English domestic setup. Before last night’s 96* off 55, he had made the headlines with the most runs (693 in 16 games) for Somerset in the English T20 League this summer.
Jonny Bairstow has been in such stunning form that the batting position does not affect his approach anymore. To maintain the left-right combo, he batted at No. 5 and smashed 30 off 21, which came after the 90 at No. 4 in the opening clash. His 120 runs are the most in the series.
At No. 2 in the batting chart is the ever-improving Reeza Hendricks. He is not a compulsive six-hitter, but manoeuvring the ball into the narrowest of gaps and lofting the best of deliveries in an open field is his mastery. The result of this approach is consecutive fifties.
Lungi Ngidi took five of six English wickets, and that’s what he is picked for. He strikes at regular intervals. Above all, he does not mind feeding the batters’ ego. The outcome of all this is an unreasonable economy at times, but that does the damage just enough.
After four T20Is, Tristan Stubb’s strike rate reads 217. Of course this is going to scale down as he plays more games, but the fact that he has struck at 163 in 23 T20s shows us the big picture. He goes gung-ho in the middle order, reducing any bowling attack to nothingness. He has scores of 72 off 38 and 15* off 12 this series.
Rossouw was fluent against every bowler but Moeen Ali who cramped the batters for room. Moeen, as often is the case in the shortest format, has been critical for fantasy players. He has scores of 52 and 28 in different match situations and has bagged a wicket in both games.
Richard Gleeson’s numbers this English summer suggest that he is a T20 specialist. He has taken eight wickets in four T20Is and 25 wickets in 16 games in the English T20 League.
Tabraiz Shamsi nicely spun a web around the batters and registered his fifth three-wicket haul – and second against England. He adopted a hit-me-if-you-can approach. That said, he has a reputation of bowling too short like we saw in Bristol.
It was a rare lapse for Dawid Malan on Thursday. It was his first single-digit score against South Africa, and despite that, his average reads a whopping 49. At Southampton, he has smacked 226 runs at a strike rate of 146 in only five T20Is.
Jos Buttler is still trying to get into the groove with his new captaincy role. The scores of 29 and 22 may not do justice to his form this year, but he is getting the job done in the powerplay. At the venue, he has scored 221 runs at a strike rate of 147 in six matches.
Both teams have played well in patches. South Africa, in away conditions, have been performing well in T20Is. They have won seven of 12 matches since the start of the T20 World Cup – none of which have been played at home. England, on the other hand, have the right mix of talent and experience at their disposal but otherwise have been blown hot and cold. All said and done, a thrilling final awaits us.
Time: July 31, 7 PM IST