When the sport of cricket is as dramatic as it has been for England over the past eight months, then it is pure theatre as every moment produces a compelling piece of action.
So often it is T20 cricket that provides that drama, ecstasy, agony, plus the array of T20 cricket highlights to behold.
Of course, meetings between these two nations evoke memories of a glorious summer – for England fans that is.
They met in the opening match of last year’s World Cup and no sooner had that ended in unforgettable fashion, then it was the start of England’s tour over the festive period.
Since then, England have recorded a 3-1 test win before honours finished even in the rain-affected one day international clashes which followed.
In both cases, the tourists fell behind only to come back so can they do it again after their opening T20 defeat?
With two matches of the tour remaining in Durban and Centurion, I expect South Africa will never have a better opportunity to restore some pride and further enhance their confidence, so you need to check out the SBOTOP T20 cricket predictions to take a closer look.
Either way, if this week’s first meeting was anything to go by, we can expect more excitement.
Skipper Eoin Morgan mused that England had taken a backward step after failing to get over the line but heaped blame on himself for the dramatic one-run defeat.
There were positives to take though, given the fact there are so many English batsmen vying for a place in the top three for this autumn’s T20 World Cup.
The list is impressive: Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Alex Hales, Tom Banton, Liam Livingstone and Phil Salt can all lay legitimate claim to a spot in the squad. And as a result, every trip to the middle is a mini audition.
Roy lit the touch paper to a chase of 178 with a blistering 70 from 38 balls but England lost their way after his departure with 46 still required from the final 34 deliveries under the floodlights.
Morgan put England back in the driving seat with some thunderous blows in the penultimate over to leave them needing seven from as many balls, but he then immediately holed out to long-on for 52 to expose the lower order.
He still feels his side — which has aspirations to win the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia — should have been able to get home in that last over with only seven runs required.
England’s composure, under the pressure they had piled on themselves earlier in the innings, will be encouraging mind and they will view this second T20 meeting as a chance to prove any doubters wrong.
Not that South Africa will be complacent since the Proteas know they have a few key areas to work on. They have to work on their middle-order — which in the absence of Temba Bavuma who was promoted to open — looked a touch too inexperienced.
In fact, despite success, it was shown to be far too flimsy and fragile at this level.
Among those to watch out for over the next few days will be Lungi Ngidi who thrust himself into the spotlight with his three for 10 off two overs in the closing stages and was instrumental in England’s capitulation. They will be particularly wary of his slower ball.
England, meanwhile, have handed Joe Denly a prized opportunity to stake his claim on a place at the T20 World Cup.
Having gradually worked his way to some sense of security in the Test set-up and proved himself handy in the ODI format in South Africa, the jury is out on the shortest format.
For the statisticians among you, South Africa have won their past three T20s at Kingsmead and five of the seven completed T20 matches they have played there in total.
England have never won a T20 in Durban — although they have not visited since the 2007 ICC World T20 when they lost group matches to New Zealand and India — the latter featuring Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes off a Stuart Broad over en route to a record 50 off just 12 balls.
England’s trip to the southern hemisphere is drawing to a close, so it’s been quite a ride this winter!
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