|Ground:||Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street|
|Scorecard:||England v South Africa|
|Event:||South Africa in England 2012|
DateLine: 7th September 2012
South Africa in England 2012 1st T20 Match Preview
South Africa made a comeback against England by winning the last and final match of the ODIs series which meant the one-day series' spoils were shared 2-2. Now both the rivals will lock horns in the T20 International match on Saturday, 8th September.
The current champions, England have played four T20's in 2012, they lost the first to Pakistan in Dubai but hit back to win that series 2-1. Their most recent T20 outing saw them beat West Indies by seven wickets at Nottingham.
The Proteas record also shows three wins from four matches this year, they lost the first of three on their tour to New Zealand but turned things around to win the series 2-1 and they also beat India by 11 runs in a one off match at the Wanderers in March 2012.
There have been six scheduled meetings in T20 internationals between both sides, the Proteas have won three, England two and one was abandoned. The most recent head to head encounter came in the Caribbean in the last World Cup and England came out on top with a 39-run win on their way to being crowned T20 World Champions. The only completed T20 on English soil was in the 2009 World Cup and the Proteas were dominant, crushing England by seven wickets at Nottingham.
England will be looking to bounce back after they lost the final ODI on Wednesday. On the other hand South Africa have momentum behind them now, particularly, after they won the Test series. Hashim Amla was irrepressible with the bat during the Test and ODI series putting England to the sword in both the longer formats and it is no surprise to see that he is the favourite to be the top South Africa batsman on Saturday. The presence of his name on the team sheet could once again tip the balance in the Proteas favour. Robin Petersen was the man who topped the bowling performance chart in the one-dayers and is the one to look out for when it comes to bowling. The starting line ups will be interesting and should Duminy play, with his capacity to chip in with wickets as well as runs, South Africans are quite capable of surprising England. Although Duminy wasn't at his best in the one-dayers with a top score of 33 in three knocks but his spin bowling is a more than useful option and he is one of a number of potential top finishers in the Proteas batting line up.
England have also brought in their own T20 specialists, with some more familiar names returning to the squad. Captain Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann return after being rested for the one-dayers, while James Anderson is set to make his first T20 international appearance since November 2009 as cover for Steven Finn, who is struggling with a back injury. There are plenty of other returning faces as Luke Wright gets a chance to impress after a brilliant season for Sussex in county cricket and it will be interesting to see if he gets a chance to open the batting with Alex Hales. Jonny Bairstow will have to shoulder plenty of responsibility if the top order fails to fire and he looks a tempting punt to be top batsman as he has been a key figure in England's run of six wins in their last eight T20s.
The batting order remains a concern though as Kevin Pietersen, who was so influential during England's T20 World Cup win two years ago, remains out in the cold and his loss could have a massive effect on England's defence of their trophy in Sri Lanka later this month.
This series really is all about building momentum for the World Cup later this month but with competition for starting places healthy for both sides, we are likely to witness a competitive and exciting series.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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