Close match vs SL in Sharjah will give SA confidence against England: Morkel


Former South African pace bowler Morne Morkel feels that the close game against Sri Lanka in the ICC T20 World Cup at Sharjah on October 30 had given Proteas the confidence to beat England when the two sides clash in a ‘Super 12’ game of the ICC T20 World Cup here on Saturday.

England are leading Group 1 of ‘Super 12’ with eight points from four-of-four wins, and have virtually secured the last-four berth. South Africa, on the other hand, have six points from four games and are third on the table, while Australia are second on the table with identical number of points as SA and have a better Net Run Rate (NRR) than the Proteas.

“South Africa can beat England. The Sharjah wicket will suit the Proteas and after winning a close game against Sri Lanka they will have a good understanding of conditions. The battle of the spinners, the Adil Rashid vs Tabraiz Shamsi match-up, is one to watch,” opined Morkel in his column for the ICC on Friday.

The close encounter against Sri Lanka saw South Africa beat the Island nation by four wickets with only one ball remaining.

“I feel that South Africa are flying under the radar this tournament. A lot of people said that without their household names in the XI they didn’t stand a chance. But they are quietly playing good cricket and have dangerous batters that will step up. The likes of Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen… and just look at David Miller the other night against Sri Lanka hitting two back-to-back sixes to win it.

“Mark Boucher is an organised coach and knows how to get the best out of his players when it matters most. England will not be too relaxed even though they have virtually qualified. I don’t think you can afford to be relaxed in this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and flirt with form. This has all the ingredients to be one of the games of the tournament,” felt Morkel.

The former fast bowler said that the other games in the group, between Australia and the West Indies on Saturday afternoon, will have huge ramifications for the Proteas as the run rate of the match could decide which team makes the semifinal grade.

“It’s a must-win game for South Africa against England on Saturday but the West Indies v Australia is also going to have massive ramifications, with net run-rates potentially coming into play. If South Africa’s top bowlers can fire, they can really rattle the England top order.

“England have been playing fantastic cricket for the past couple of years. They’ve analysed the game exceptionally well and identified players who are specialists in fulfilling their roles. Their backroom staff spend endless hours putting teams and match-ups together. They are not only a quality outfit on the field, but they are well organised; have done their homework and know all the teams’ strengths and weaknesses, which makes them very powerful.

“The bowling attack is certainly the Proteas’ strength and I believe they can bowl us into the semifinals,” said Morkel.