England are somehow still in this series against South Africa. But for a final deluge that forced Monday’s abandonment at Old Trafford, the scores may have been level at 1-1 ahead of this final match tomorrow (6pm BST, Wednesday).
The home side needed 13 runs from five balls – a fairly easy target in T20 – before the weather forced a no-result and this clearly highlighted some of the issues with the Duckworth Lewis method.
The weather forecast is mixed for this match at Edgbaston but it is by no means as bad, so we should at least get 40 overs in and hopefully a close contest.
England made a much-anticipated change in personnel on Monday night when the selector’s brought in Luke Wright for the hopelessly out of form Ravi Bopara. Despite the truncated nature of the game, the home side looked a stronger unit as a result, with Wright making useful contributions with bat and ball.
The Sussex all-rounder has been in superb form for his county, scoring successive hundreds in the CB40 league, and his impact alone could give England a better chance of drawing the series.
The South Africans also made a logical change to their line up as Hashim Amla came in to replace Faf Du Plessis who has also struggled for runs on this tour. Amla had been rested for the first match last week but once again top scored for his side after being dropped by England yet again – this time by the usually reliable Eoin Morgan.
Amla just reinforces a powerful batting line-up that includes Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy and AB De Villiers. There is also the threat of the explosive Richard Levi who has yet to find his own best form in this series.
If England are to mount or chase a sizeable total then they are going to have to consider how to deal with Dale Steyn who is one of the best bowlers in the world in any format. Do they approach him in the same way as they would anyone else or do they look to protect their wickets against Steyn and target other bowlers in the tourists’ attack? This question could be the key to the outcome of the entire match.
Looking at more positives from the game at Old Trafford shows that Alex Hales also looked in reasonable touch at the top of the order. Hales made England’s best score in a T20 international earlier this year and has the opportunity to take his side through to the large total that they are likely to need.
Elsewhere, if England are to win then Wright and Jonny Bairstow will have to return to their best form while Jos Buttler should also be looking to make his first significant contribution in an international shirt.
Betting Tips Verdict
If the weather forecasters are to be believed, England won’t have Duckworth Lewis to fall back on at Edgbaston and in a contest that goes the distance, the touring South Africans are likely to be too strong once again.