World T20 2014: Predictions, Key Stats and Fixture Info for Thursday's Matches

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World T20 2014: Predictions, Key Stats and Fixture Info for Thursday's Matches
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Group 1 of the Super 10 phase of the World Twenty20 will take shape on Friday as South Africa take on Netherlands. England then hope to get their first win on the board against Sri Lanka.

Here is all the essential fixture information, followed by predictions and key stats for Thursday's matches.

 

Venue: Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Date: Tuesday, March 27

Start Times: Netherlands v South Africa 9:30 a.m. GMT; England v Sri Lanka 1:30 p.m. GMT

Weather: According to BBC Weather, Chittagong should be baked in sunshine throughout Thursday, so both matches look set to proceed uninterrupted.

 

Netherlands v South Africa Prediction: South Africa to Win

Rarely will two teams come into a contest with more contrasting confidence levels than when South Africa take on Netherlands on Thursday morning.

Whilst the Proteas pulled off an unlikely victory against New Zealand last time out (thanks largely to the brilliance of Dale Steyn), Netherlands were bowled out for the lowest total ever in international T20.

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Even if it were not for this disparity in morale, South Africa would be expected to win this one comfortably.

The Dutch have shown in the past that they can be dangerous, but the Proteas have much too strong a batting line-up for them, and in Steyn, they have a fast bowler who could rip a lower-class opposition apart in his four overs.

If Faf du Plessis’ side choose to bat first, then we could see the first score of 200 in the tournament so far, followed by a game but unsuccessful chase.

If the Dutch are to take to the crease first, then they should do better than the meagre (to say the least) 39 they managed on Monday. But they will not get near the 150 mark, which would give their opposition some trouble.

 

Key Stats

Netherlands have faced Test-playing nations six times in T20 matches and have won twiceagainst Bangladesh in 2012 and against England at Lord’s in 2009.

Dale Steyn’s four wickets against New Zealand on Monday made him the first South African to reach 50 wickets in international T20. He is now seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers in the format.

The two sides have met four times in ODIs, and each time, South Africa have won convincingly. The narrowest margin of victory was by 83 runs in May 2013.

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

JP Duminy, who top-scored for South Africa against New Zealand, hit a massive 150 not out off just 122 balls last time these sides met. The innings included eight sixes.

South Africa have never lost to an ICC Associate member.

 

England v Sri Lanka Prediction: Sri Lanka to Win

Little was expected of England coming into the World T20, as they were out of form and had suffered a number of injuries to key players. So for many, their defeat to New Zealand in their opening game was no surprise.

But the England squad will feel frustrated nonetheless as the match was curtailed early due to rain and decided on the Duckworth-Lewis method. Most watching would agree that the Kiwis would have gone on to win, but Stuart Broad and his men will certainly be thinking, “What if?”

Although there may be frustration in the England camp, there can be some optimism as well as they managed to rack up the very decent total of 172-6 with a number of players contributing handily with the willow. However, it is the bowling department that is really in question, and the Kiwis surging to 52-1 off just 5.2 overs did little to answer those queries.

The English bowlers will be challenged by an impressive Sri Lankan batting lineup that is one of the most experienced in world cricket. The spine of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara should be more than capable of dealing with England’s inconstant attack.

It is Sri Lanka’s bowling that is really their strong suit, though, as demonstrated by them skittling Netherlands out for 39 and restricting South Africa to just 160. Their entire attack is proving tricky to get away on a regular basis, and that is going to make them very hard to beat in this tournament.

England’s only hope for wins in this competition is that their big hitters such as Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Butler really fire. This looks to be too much to hope for against a Sri Lankan attack that is both dangerous and economical. It is hard to see how England can win this game.

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Key Stats

These teams have met four times in the T20 format with Sri Lanka winning four of them and England claiming their solitary victory in 2010, although this was crucially in the World Cup semi-final.

Nuwan Kulasekara equalled the world record of bowling two maidens in an international T20 inning when he returned figures of 2-2-0-1 against Netherlands on Monday.

England bowler Jade Dernbach has the second-worst economy rate of any player to bowl more than 100 overs in international T20 history.

England have won just three of their last 13 T20 contests.

Jayawardene, Dilshan and Sangakkara are second, third and fourth, respectively, in the all-time run-scorers list in international T20.

 

All stats courtesy of ESPNcricinfo.com.

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