Unbeaten South Africa in front as USA hope for more magic

South Africa

Match details

USA vs South Africa
Super Eight, North Sound, June 19, 10.30am local time

Big picture – Can USA slay another giant?

It’s Super Eight time.

Before the start of the T20 World Cup 2024, the ICC had allotted pre-decided seedings to the eight top teams. A2 was given to Pakistan. The match timings were set according to what would be prime time in Pakistan and the rest of the subcontinent. But then a USA-sized blow hit Pakistan in their very first match and the tournament hasn’t been the same since.

So USA, in their first T20 World Cup appearance, are now A2, and will kickstart the Super Eight stage against South Africa. As both teams head over to North Sound in Antigua – USA aren’t quite at home anymore, note – they would hope for two things: better batting conditions and no rain.

South Africa are entering the Super Eight stage with an all-win record. But after their win over Sri Lanka in the first game, the rest could have gone either way. They found themselves at 12 for 4 chasing 104 against Netherlands, only scored 113 for 6 and won by four runs against Bangladesh, and scraped through by a solitary run against Nepal.

South Africa have lost 11 wickets and are averaging a mere 9.63 in the powerplay this World Cup – the third-lowest behind Uganda and Papua New Guinea. And none of their top-order batters have a strike rate of 100 in the first six overs.

Having said that, South Africa played three of their four games in New York, where batting conditions were far from ideal. And in hopefully better conditions in North Sound, they will hope the top order can finally flex their muscles.

USA, in foreign shores after playing 12 straight home games (of which two were abandoned), will hope for the fairy tale to continue. They showed their batting muscle in the opening game against Canada, and then restricted Pakistan to a middling total in the second game. Even against India, they had the opposition top order in a bit of early strife.

The likes of Aaron Jones, Saurabh Netravalkar and Monank Patel have shown they belong to this level of cricket. Now for them to give it another tilt and try to take another Full Member down.

Form guide

USA LWWLW (last five matches, most recent first)
South AfricaWWWWL

In the spotlight – Saurabh Netravalkar and Anrich Nortje

Left-arm quick Saurabh Netravalkar has been a star for USA in the powerplay, where he’s picked up three wickets and gone at an economy of 4.57. He’s found swing and shape consistently and even accounted for the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma already. Coder by day, fast bowler by night, he has had to extend his leave at his day job by a few more weeks and will want to make it count against a South Africa top order that is struggling for form.

Anrich Nortje had a forgettable IPL 2024, where he picked up just seven wickets in six games and went at 13.36. But, he’s hit his straps from the get-go at the T20 World Cup. He’s bowled with pace, he’s been accurate, and, more importantly, has picked up wickets. After four games, Nortje is the joint-second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with nine wickets, and has bowled at an economy of just 4.37. His bustling pace might be useful against the USA batters who might not have faced such high speeds too often.

Team news – Shamsi or Maharaj, or both?

USA’s last group game in Lauderhill was abandoned without a ball bowled. Before that, they played India, where Monank Patel, their regular captain, missed out because of a shoulder injury. He is likely to come back into the team replacing Shayan Jahangir at the top. Depending on the conditions, there is also a chance USA could slot in left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige in place of fast bowler Shadley van Schalkwyk.

USA (probable): 1 Steven Taylor, 2 Monank Patel (capt), 3 Andries Gous (wk), 4 Nitish Kumar, 5 Aaron Jones, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Harmeet Singh, 8 Shadley van Schalkwyk/Nosthush Kenjige, 9 Jasdeep Singh, 10 Saurabh Netravalkar, 11 Ali Khan

South Africa brought in Tabraiz Shamsi for Keshav Maharaj in their last group game, and that could be the only selection they spend time on for this game. While Shamsi got four wickets against Nepal, Maharaj has performed consistently.

South Africa (probable): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markram (capt), 4 Tristan Stubbs, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Tabraiz Shamsi/Keshav Maharaj, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Ottneil Baartman, 11 Anrich Nortje

Pitch and conditions

It is expected to be an overcast morning in North Sound, but there is no rain forecast in the area on Wednesday. The teams batting second have won three out of four games here, with the surface good for batting. At the World Cup, Australia and England blew Namibia and Oman away respectively, but Oman hit up 150 against Scotland, which was chased down in 13.1 overs, and the rain-hit England vs Namibia game had 206 runs in 20 overs.

Stats that matter

  • Nortje has picked up eight wickets in the middle phase, the second-highest after Adam Zampa’s nine
  • USA have the highest run rate against spin of all the teams in the tournament – 11.04; Jones has been striking at 263.33 against spinners in the World Cup 2024 (80 off 30 balls)
  • South Africa have the second-best death-overs economy in this tournament – 5.27
  • This will be the first T20I between the two sides

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Anderson to bowl first ball in final Test appearance as England insert West Indies
Root sad to see Anderson go but hails Atkinson as Ashes weapon
England add Mark Wood to Test squad for Trent Bridge
Johnny Grave: West Indies’ Covid tour showed Big Three need strong opponents
David Warner keeps door ajar for Champions Trophy ‘if selected’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *