Posts Tagged ‘johan botha’

England have made 111 all out against South Africa, their lowest-ever T20I total.

Johan Botha took a wicket maiden, for goodness’ sake. In a Twenty20 match.

All this after Collingwood won the toss and chose to bat. What was that I was saying about England struggling to post large totals?

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The brief interlude of the two Twenty20 matches between the Test series and the ODIs, combined with the absence of Graeme Smith, seems to have taken the wind out of South Africa’s sails a little. As well as the two defeats, stand-in captain Johan Botha also has the headache of slow over rates to deal with – he was fined 10% of his match fee on Tuesday for Saffer tardiness in the field.

Botha can at least console himself with the knowledge that AB deVilliers and Jacques Kallis have both recovered from the injuries which kept them out of the second Twenty20 match, and with the good form of JP Duminy, who’ll be looking to make some big scores following a disappointing ODI series in England.

Australia, meanwhile, are brimming with regained confidence in the shorter form, and will be looking to capitalise on their Twenty20 success as the series moves on to 50-over matches. The two teams haven’t actually met in an ODI since the last World Cup, and Australia’s last defeat to South Africa was the celebrated run-fest in Johannesburg, when even 434/4 from 50 overs wasn’t enough to secure victory for the Aussies.

The most interesting sub-plot in the ODI series is the question of who will open the batting for Australia alongside Shaun Marsh. Michael Clarke is a strong possibility, as is James Hopes, but it’s also possible that someone could come out of left field to make the slot their own.

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After the dramatic and historic Test series, South Africa and Australia move on to the Twenty20 series with an anticlimax somewhat inevitable.

The tourists appeared to suffer fatigue on their recent tour of England, fading quickly in the One-Day series and slumping to a 4-0 defeat back when Kevin Pietersen was still enjoying his honeymoon period. Mickey Arthur says that South Africa will be treating the limited-overs games as a separate tour, and there will certainly be no shortage of new faces. Herschelle Gibbs returns to the side following his stint in rehab, and there are set to be debuts in the first match for Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Vaughn van Jaarsveld. Johan Botha takes charge (somewhat surprisingly) of the team in Graeme Smith’s absence.

For Australia, Luke Ronchi comes in as Haddin is rested, the bowlers are shuffled, and David Warner (a Twenty20 specialist who has never played a first class game) is set to make his debut. The hosts will be keen to boost morale with some wins, and they have a strong record to defend, having never lost a Twenty20 international at home.

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England take on South Africa in the first ODI of the series at Headingley tomorrow with a slightly re-jigged side, possibly featuring Matt Prior opening with Ian Bell, and with Owais Shah at number three.

The hosts will also make changes to their bowling line-up, partially forced by injury to Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Tremlett. Called up in their stead is Tim Bresnan. Former captain Paul Collingwood is still suspended, but Samit Patel may miss out to Luke Wright and/or Graeme Swann in the lower-middle order.

For South Africa, JP Duminy, Johan Botha and the tremendously-named Vernon Philander are all likely to play. Albie Morkel is definitely injured, and brother Morne is a doubt. Graeme Smith‘s side will be overwhelming favourites (although Duncan Fletcher is optimistic about England’s chances), and the return of Herschelle Gibbs to the side for the One-Dayers is likely to put bums on seats, as they say.

UPDATE: Harmison’s only gone and unretired himself.

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