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After back-to-back thrilling matches, the stage is set for a thrilling finale between hosts England and South Africa, in the third and final T20I at Sophia Gardens on Sunday. England, who played dominant cricket in the opening T20I, succumbed to a slender three-run defeat off the very last ball of the second T20I. South Africa came up with an improved performance to stay alive in the series. Full cricket scorecard: England vs South Africa, 3rd T20I

Considering the result of the second T20I, fielding first, England bowlers did a fair job with the ball in the initial over. However, the South African batsmen were strong enough to bounce back and post a match-winning total of 174, courtesy opener JJ Smut s 45 and skipper AB de Villiers 46, while debutant Tom Curran for England was the start of the bowling attack claiming 3 for 33.

In reply, opener Jason Roy was involved in a stellar knock of 67. However, his dismissal for obstructing the field did a major damage, while Man of the Match from 1st T20I, Jonny Bairstow, too played an stunning knock of 47. However, none of them were enough as Chris Morris s healthy spell of 2 for 18 did the damage.

Therefore, considering the performance of both sides from the previous ties, certainly expect some changes in the playing XI, at lease for England. Although they hardly needed any change in the side, following their emphatic win at Southampton, the change turned out to be the momentum breaker for England. Therefore, for the third T20I, England might look to replace Sam Billings as the opener with either Alex Hales or Dawid Malan, following his poor show in the 2nd T20I. Also debutant Liam Livingstone could face the axe following his poor start to his international T20I carrier.

England s likely XI: Jason Roy, Sam Billings/Alex Hales/Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Livingstone/Mason Crane, Liam Dawson, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran.

As for South Africa, opener Reeza Hendricks could face the axe for failing in two consecutive matches and could be replaced by Dwaine Pretorious. Also, David Miller has been in poor form, and is most likely to face the axe in order to make way for Imran Tahir or Wayne Parnell as an extra bowler. Morne Morkel, who was the most expensive bowler in the previous tie, could be dropped as well.

South Africa s likely XI: JJ Smuts, Reeza Hendricks/Dwaine Pretorious, AB de Villiers (c), David Miller/Imran Tahir/Wayne Parnell, Farhaan Behardien, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Morne Morkel/Imran Tahir/Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson.

With the game being held at Cardiff, the pitch is likely to remain on the batting side. With the three T20Is being held at this venue, teams chasing have managed to win two matches, while the other match saw a bowling side winning it. All the three winners have been England nevertheless, South Africa could script history as they could well become the first overseas team to register a T20I win at this venue.


England: Eoin Morgan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Jason Roy, Craig Overton, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Mark Wood.

South Africa: AB de Villiers (c), Farhaan Behardien, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, JJ Smuts, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Morne Morkel, JJ Smuts.

Time: 14:30 local | 13:30 GMT | 19:00 IST