Proteas T20 World Cup

Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images/Getty Images

PREVIEW: Three things Proteas must do to upset England

The Proteas face a tricky challenge against England on Saturday as they look to qualify for the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Proteas T20 World Cup

Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The all-important match kicks off at 16:00 SA time, and here are three key aspects of the game the Proteas will have to get spot on in Sharjah.

Maintain bowling firepower 

So far this tournament, the Proteas’ bowling unit has excelled, with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje offering pace and skill, while spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi have added the necessary variety. Dwaine Pretorius has completed the frontline bowling unit, and largely performed above expectation.

However, this match is set to provide the South African bowlers with their sternest test against an aggressive England batting lineup that includes in-form Jos Buttler, dynamic Eoin Morgan and sees them bat all the way down to No 9 Chris Jordan.

Especially if the Proteas bowl first, it will be essential that they make a statement from the outset and ensure England aren’t able to get away to a flying start that would pile on the pressure. 


Keep an eye on the calculator

Although captain Temba Bavuma has insisted the Proteas can’t afford to be distracted by Net Run Rate permutations, it will be something that can’t be avoided if Australia start the day’s action with a big win over the West Indies.

This could ramp up the pressure on the Proteas to not only beat England, which is a big ask on its own, but to do so convincingly enough to move ahead of Australia on Net Run Rate (if they’ve beaten the Windies, of course).

South African fans will need to become West Indies supporters first up on Saturday, and hope the Windies can make life easier for a Proteas team that will not want to have the  pressure of worrying about Net Run Rate adding to an already tricky task.


Play with freedom, bravery

No one needs to remind Proteas fans about the heartache that has been endured during ICC World Cup tournaments in the past, which has led to constant talk that the team are ‘chokers’ when they head into must-win matches at these showpiece events.

Saturday’s match is effectively a quarter-final for the Proteas, and the last thing they need is to get bogged down by the importance of the occasion.

Up to this point, the Proteas have dealt beautifully with the high-pressure moments, and if they can continue to play with freedom, confidence and bravery against England, it could allow them to charge into the semi-finals with momentum and real belief behind them.


Here is what the team two lineups could look like:

South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Temba Bavuma (capt), 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood.