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England vs South Africa: Rugby Not the Only Thing on the Menu As Proteas Face Ben Stokes
- England will have a massive chance to steady their Cricket World Cup ship with a win on Saturday
- South Africa will be desperate for a win to bounce back from the humiliation at the hands of the Dutch
- The result in Friday's game between Australia and Pakistan amplifies the need for a positive result
With each match brings an ever-evolving landscape.
The sledgehammers will be testing physical limitations in Paris, but a more refined contest awaits in India.
In part two of South Africa and England's double-header, Themba Bavuma's Proteas have an early competition test against a struggling but potentially lethal England.
The Proteas will still be kicking themselves after being brought down to earth by a South African-filled Netherlands.
Not simply at the ignominy of losing to a tier two nation over 50 overs, but because it was a wasted chance that could bite them in the coming weeks.
Jos Buttler's England will be in the same boat, having been embarrassed by Afghanistan.
Saturday's encounter thus feels like redemption for South Africa and salvation for England.
The big news for England is the return of Ben Stokes after a hip injury.
The fiery all-rounder amplifies the bowling attack and offers a psychological boost for the batters as he can either support or attack when needed.
Defeat for England will put them well behind the following pack, with their following fixtures being against Sri Lanka, India and Australia.
Proteas' opening Btasman, wicketkeeper and former captain Quinton de Kock is central to South African hopes.
Impeccable in his first two innings, his failure against Netherlands was telling.
Saturday's match begins a definitive run, which includes underwhelming Pakistan, serious contenders New Zealand and hosts India.
With every inning, 'Quinny' edges closest to his last outing for his nation and he will not want it to be against Afghanistan in South Africa's final group game on November 10.
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No single match at this can determine the path of a World Cup, but Saturday shall be a true test of South Africa and England's World Cup contender credentials.
An open competition
Sports Brief recently reported on how the 10 teams at the Cricket World Cup were faring.
Big names are currently playing catch-up with, decisive encounters looming on the horizon.
South Africa will soon have their chance to put daylight between themselves and the title defenders.