Ireland and South Africa continue their T20 series on Thursday when they meet in the second T20 of the three that are scheduled in Dublin with continuing to prepare for the upcoming World T20 the primary aim for both sides.
There is a series to be won here though and Ireland have to win the match in order to force a decider after South Africa won the opening match on Tuesday. A South Africa win here sees them win the series with a match to spare.
To be fair to Ireland, they put up a decent enough fight in the first match on Tuesday but they just lacked the quality needed to get to terms with the pitch and that cost them in the end. There has been a lot of cricket played on this ground in the last week or so and the pitches are going to be tricky to bat on now so they need to adjust their game plan to give themselves the best chance to execute their skills.
That is with the bat because they actually did pretty well with the ball. For much of the South Africa innings it looked like they would be restricted to less than 160 which would have been a fine effort but the Proteas got away from them late on and Ireland couldn’t recover with the bat. The Ireland spinners could be crucial in this match. South Africa don’t play spin as well as some sides so the more spin they can bowl the better.
South Africa continue to win matches in this format without always convincing. That was probably the case in the previous match where their batting again failed to answer the questions that are hanging over it. They were bailed out by the bowlers. There is no shame in having the bowlers as the strongest department in a side but every now and again they are going to need their batting to deliver, especially on tough pitches in the UAE come the World T20.
The annoying thing about South Africa is they have had the same issues for a while but haven’t really come close to sorting them. They need to find a regular opening partner for Quinton de Kock and they also need to sort their middle order out because they can’t propel their platforms into big totals at the minute. Some of that is players out of form but it is also a lack of balance which stops their batsmen from playing with the freedom that they like knowing that they can’t afford to lose too many early wickets.
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Although it wasn’t their best performance in the opening match, Ireland are getting back into the swing of international T20s again so they might choose to give the same team another go in the hope there is improvement in them.
South Africa still have to sort out the finishing role in their team but at the minute they seem focused on installing the spinner in the all-rounder position with an eye on the World T20 in mind. That means they could be unchanged for this match.
I think this will be good preparation for both teams here because we’re going to see some pretty tired pitches out in the UAE come the World T20 when you consider that the tournament takes place a few days after half of an IPL season finishes. The pitches here are going to tire because this is the fifth match to be played in around 11 days and there hasn’t been much in the way of rain around to juice them up a little bit again.
While that will help both teams prepare for the World T20, I’m not convinced it will help them score runs in this match and actually the 320.5 run line that I took the over in for the first game looks a little high. South Africa were short of 150 in the first game until the last over while Ireland were 88-9 before a good last wicket partnership got them up to respectability but the spinners in the match took 2-66 in nine overs for Ireland and 6/53 in eight overs for South Africa. That is a sign of tired pitches so I expect the scoring to be low once again. Under 320.5 will do me here.
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