T20: SA’s negative Newlands record

AB de Villiers (Gallo)
AB de Villiers (Gallo)

Cape Town – It has often been described as a “fortress” for South Africa and is the favourite ground in the country for many Proteas players.

Modern records in both the Test and one-day international formats go a long way to explaining that fondness: only one defeat in the last 14 five-day scraps there, and 11 wins out of the last 13 ODIs.

But Newlands is notably not the happiest of hunting grounds for the host nation in the short history of Twenty20 activity – SA have lost all of their last three matches in the format there.

Their overall record currently still stands in negative territory: played five, won two, lost three.

So when they tackle England in the first of two KFC T20 internationals on Friday (18:00), they will not only be seeking to ensure they cannot be beaten in the mini-series, but also perk up their record to a 50 percent one at the venue.

The Proteas have at least beaten England previously in the format at Newlands; it was their last victory there in September 2007, during the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 event.

Graeme Smith’s then-charges won by 19 runs after restricting the side led by Paul Collingwood to 135 for seven in reply to their 154 for eight.

The SA team on Friday is likely to feature two survivors from that encounter – AB de Villiers and JP Duminy – whereas England will be a wholly different line-up from then.

But the Proteas have had strangely leaner times at Newlands in T20 clashes since then, with successive defeats to Australia (October 2011, by five wickets), Pakistan (November 2013, by six runs) and West Indies (January 2015, by four wickets).

Last season’s reverse at the hands of the Windies was marked by one of those formidable “explosions” by Chris Gayle, who plundered 77 off 31 balls with 68 of those runs in boundaries, including eight sixes.

Generally, though, Newlands tends to call for intelligent rather than overly cavalier cricket at T20 level, particularly for matches involving night play.

Only six times in the 24 T20 innings played at the ground has the total exceeded the 150-mark, with the best effort thus far being England’s 188 for nine against Zimbabwe during the World T20 some nine years ago.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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