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Stuart Dalgleish 5th Mar 2011 - 16:43

Have England’s chances gone down the Swanny?

England v South Africa betting preview - Sunday 04:00 live on Sky Sports 2

I thought the days of England's inconsistency had gone after their World Twenty20 win; they looked like a team that could match and beat the world's best.

They had a team of top class operators in both the batting department and the bowling department, in that tournament Jimmy Anderson (4/1 top England bowler) was a player that couldn't get a look in, and he was in form at the time, now he's likely to get dropped because he's haemorrhaging runs.

It's all a far cry from the Ashes when he ripped through the Aussie's batting line-up and could do no wrong.

It's likely that Yorkshire's Ajmal Shahzad (4/1) will come into the England (13/8) attack at the expense of Anderson; he's a fiery character that will be up for a big game like this against South Africa (1/2).

The Proteas were my pick before the tournament started (now in to 9/2 second favourites) and I see no reason to change that opinion.

They have one of the best betting line-ups in the competition; AB de Villiers (7/2 top SA batsman) has been absolutely on fire with 241 runs from his two matches and Hashim Amla (11/4), who's only been considered an ODI player for the last few years, has been his normal assured self opening with Graeme Smith (4/1).

The only surprise so far has been that the captain Smith, and Jacques Kallis (4/1) are yet to put a score on the board, if England can keep these two quiet and stifle some of the others then they might have a shout in this one.

One player that normally has that stifling job is Tim Bresnan (7/2 top Eng bowler); the big man usually goes about his business unnoticed while the like of Graeme Swann (9/4) and Stuart Broad (7/2) make the headlines, it seems Bres wanted some glory of his own against India and bagged himself a five-for.

Bresnan has become a pivotal part of this England team, he just needs some of the other players to stand up and be counted or the Three Lions could be on their way out.

Swann has done ok so far in this World Cup, and the spinner was the player of the series against South Africa when they toured there in 2009/10, England will be hoping he can cause them problems again to kick-start their campaign.

That seems to be the only problem at the minute for England, they've got three decent scores in their three matches and could easily be sat with six points rather than the three points they currently have if they'd got into gear in the field.

I expect England to put another score on the board, the likes of Andrew Strauss (3/1 top Eng bat) are in form, Ian Bell (9/2) and Jonathan Trott (7/2) have both put decent knocks in while Kevin Pietersen (3/1) has looked fairly solid too, although KP has a hernia now and will go for an op after the tournament finishes.

With high scores seemingly guaranteed I'd take a look at a century in the match at even money, England have had tons scored in all of their games so far and their bowling has been bad enough to give teams chances.

One player that England need to be aware of though in their pursuit of vital points is Imran Tahir (3/1 top SA bowler), the spinner gives South Africa a different option with his right-arm leg break while Dale Steyn (9/4) and Morne Morkel (3/1) have the batsmen ducking for cover.

While you can never quite guarantee what result you're going to get from England, you can guarantee excitement, and this will be worth the early rise that's for sure.



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