Barely 48 hours after being blown away by the Gayle storm, England will return to the Wankhede Stadium on Friday evening to take on South Africa in what would virtually be a must-win game for them.
Eoin Morgan’s men will be keeping their fingers crossed for A.B. de Villiers not continuing his silken touch at a ground reputed for its run feasts, especially in Twenty20.
If the recent form is an indication to go by, England will have every reason to fear the worst. The last time de Villiers batted against England, he bludgeoned 71 off 29 at the Wanderers, the ground that the Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis termed similar to Wankhede.
And when it comes to playing at Wankhede, the last two times he batted at the stadium, de Villiers smashed 119 off 61 (against India in an ODI last October) and an unbeaten 133 off 59 (for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Mumbai Indians during 2015 IPL).
If de Villiers, who is likely to open the batting, gets a hat-trick of marauding knocks at Wankhede, it will not only put a full stop to England’s campaign but more importantly for him, get the Proteas’ campaign off to an ideal start.
The South Africans, as they have always have over the last two decades, are entering the World Twenty20 as one of the prime contenders for lifting the trophy on April 3. They would be keen to get off the blocks in an ideal way rather than playing the catch-up game after getting off to a disastrous start.
Need for improvement
England, on the other hand, will be hoping to improve in both the major departments of the game. No doubt that Chris Gayle was at his best on Wednesday night but the England bowlers played into his hands by bowling in his arc time and again.
Unlike Gayle, most of the Proteas’ power-hitters, led by de Villiers, can tonk the ball all around the park. It will be interesting to see how the English bowlers respond to the pressure.
The batsmen will also be hoping to take a cue from Gayle’s knock and build a big innings rather than looking over their shoulder after throwing away a good start.
Each of the top four England batsmen got a start against West Indies but none of them batted deep into the innings, thus leaving the lower middle order little time to take the game away from the opposition.
If they can avoid a repeat on Friday, they would give themselves every chance of keeping their campaign alive before marching on to the National capital.
[Source:- The Hindu]