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Twenty20 - Cricket: England vs South Africa first T20 preview

Having seen their ODI series finale ruined by the rain, England and South Africa will hope for better luck in their opening T20 international in Bristol on Wednesday.

And the hosts will also be eager to try and turn around a poor series of recent results in the format which has seen them beaten seven times in their last 10 outings.

England did at least register a win on their last T20 match, even if a 17-run victory over India at Trent Bridge was a mere consolation after they had lost the first two clashes with Rohit Sharma's side.

What:

England v South Africa, first T20 international

Where:

County Ground, Bristol

When:

18:30, Wednesday 27th July 2022

How to watch:

Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket

Odds:England 4/7, South Africa 11/8

Bristol not a happy hunting round

Bristol does not feature on the international schedule all that often, with the Three Lions having played just three T20s at the County Ground to date.

And they can take very little heart from their three previous outings in the West Country, having lost to Pakistan back in 2006, Sri Lanka in 2011 and India in 2018.

All three of those defeats came after England had batted first, meaning that they may be loath to do so again should they win the toss on Wednesday evening.

However, their most recent loss in Bristol did see them total a highly respectable 198-9 against India four years ago, only for the tourists to reach their target with eight balls to spare.

Recent record against Proteas more positive

If Bristol has not been a favoured venue for England in the past, South Africa have proved to be an opponent against whom they have enjoyed plenty of success in recent times.

The Three Lions have won five of their last six meetings with the Proteas in this format, with their only loss a narrow 10-run reverse at the T20 World Cup in Sharjah in November last year.

Prior to that loss, England had won five in a row against South Africa, with four of those five successes coming after they batted second and adding that stat to their record in Bristol means that chasing would surely be the preferred option on Wednesday.

An early evening start time and the possibility of rain in the area also mean that batting second looks like a decent option for whichever skipper wins the toss.

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Left-handers a threat to hosts

The Proteas will be captained by David Miller in this series and both he and fellow left-hander Rilee Rossouw have plenty of experience of English conditions and could prove to be major dangers to the England bowlers.

Miller strikes at 141.71 over the course of the 100 T20 internationals he has played, although it may be worth noting that his top score against the Three Lions is a mere 35 in the 11 matches he has played against them.

In comparison to Miller, Rossouw has played a mere 15 T20s, but strikes at a similar rate and also has recent T20 Blast success to draw upon.

He was the second highest runscorer in the competition, making 623 runs for Somerset, passing 50 seven times in 16 innings, with his strike-rate an incredible 192.28.

Rossouw is 3/1 to be top team batter on Wednesday, with Miller out at 17/2 - possibly because of his lack of past success against England.

Gleeson out to push World Cup claims

Lancashire veteran Richard Gleeson made a stunning debut on the international stage in taking 3-15 against India at Edgbaston earlier this month.

The 34-year-old seamer took out Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli in a stunning spell, before backing that up with figures of 1-31 at Trent Bridge, as England gained a consolation win on their last T20 outing.

Gleeson - who is 7/2 to be top team bowler on Wednesday - was the leading wicket-taker in the recent T20 Blast with 25 and he will be eager to build on his impressive start with England to try and nail down a place in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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