© Getty Images
© Getty Images

England strolled to a 9-wicket win in first of the three-T20I series against South Africa. In the absence of Joe Root at No. 3, Jonny Bairstow blotted out the South African bowlers scoring 60 off a mere 35 balls. Before that, openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales had added 45 in 4.1 overs in quest of a modest 142. The only bowler who could take a wicket was Andile Phehlukwayo, while Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, and Dwaine Pretorius conceded over 12 RPO. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that South Africa could have done to dent the English carnage. Full Cricket Scorecard: ENG vs SA, 2nd T20I

The teams will now square off for the second encounter at Taunton. As South Africa will try to make amends and keep the series alive, England will be itching to seal the series. Let us have a look at the key battles.

Jason Roy vs Imran Tahir: More the pace on the ball, the harder Roy will go at it. Lovely timer of the ball, Roy found his lost mojo at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. His 14-ball 28 set the chase ablaze, taking the game away from the South Africans. On the other hand, Imran Tahir had a forgettable day. Taking no wicket, he profusely leaked 37 runs in 3 overs.

However, if South Africa employ the World No. 1 bowler Tahir against Roy, they have a chance to keep the run-rate under check. If anything, Roy will have trouble timing the slow leg-spinners, or he may as well be trapped with a wrong ‘un.

AB de Villiers vs Mark Wood: ABD scored a fifty but only at a strike rate of 112, quite uncharacteristic by his brand of cricket. That said, England bowlers were spot on, not letting the South African batsmen open their arms and whack them over the boundary line. However, ABD still managed to manufacture his on-one-knee shots. Amidst all this, Wood rattled the visitors with sheer pace and bounce. He sent Reeza Hendricks and David Miller packing.

Of the 8 deliveries he bowled to ABD, he garnered 3 dot balls and 2 boundaries.

Jonny Bairstow vs Chris Morris: South Africa paid the price for leaving Morris out. They were short of a bowler who could mix up the pace and outfox the rampaging Bairstow. From JJ Smuts to Wayne Parnell, no one could disquiet Bairstow. Although Morris may not guarantee the same, his knack of trying different lengths may produce wickets, especially Bairstow’s, who may get carried away if put under pressure.

David Miller vs Mason Crane: Miller started off with a six over long-off, but that was it. Wood had him caught behind with a back-of-length ball soon. Having said that, Miller would have gone bonkers and South Africa would have posted more runs had he elongated his stay, given the ball was sweetly coming onto the bat.

Leg-spinner Crane, playing in his first international match, gave away run a ball. Off 4 overs, he gave away only 2 boundaries, all in middle overs. Good news for him is that the Taunton pitch will offer him some spin.