T20 World Cup: Unchanged England elect to bowl first against South Africa

Gros Islet (St Lucia), June 21 (IANS) Defending champions England have won the toss and elected to bowl first against South Africa in their Super Eight stage clash of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

England are on top of Group 2 in Super Eight, followed by South Africa at second place due to net run rate. Both England and South Africa earned victories in their opening Super Eight games and a win for either of them in Friday’s match will mean one foot will be firmly in the race for the semifinals.

After winning the toss, captain Jos Buttler said his playing eleven is unchanged. “It’s a fresh wicket, looks good, so we fancy another chase. The start time could potentially make a difference in terms of the moisture, but it’s a good pitch and we back ourselves chasing after that win the other day.”

“It was a great performance in all facets of the game (in beating West Indies by eight wickets). But that’s behind us, we’ve got another test today against a strong South Africa team, so we start again.”

“We are looking after Jofra as well as we can, but he’s in a great place. He’s enjoying himself, playing with a smile on his face, and bowling really well so it is quite hard to hold him back when that’s happening! South Africa are unbeaten, we know how good they are with both bat and ball so let’s hope we’re in for a good game,” he said.

South Africa have brought back pacer Ottneil Baartman in the playing eleven, who replaces left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. “We would have bowled first just based on an early start, there will be a bit of moisture there. But that being said we just have to put a good score on the board and squeeze them after that.”

“In most games moving forward, you need to start quite well. We have addressed that as a team. We had a nice flight straight after the USA game and a day off after that to recover. Hopefully, the boys are nice and fresh for today’s challenge.”

“The top order needed some time out there in the middle and a reminder of how to score runs at this part of the world. Our middle order has been getting us over the line, but hopefully, as a full team we can put a good game together in all facets,” said captain Aiden Markram.

Playing XIs:

England: Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood and Reece Topley

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram (c), Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Ottneil Baartman and Anrich Nortje



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