Although their traditional rivalry with England has continued since time immemorial, Australia’s tussles against South Africa have garnered plenty of attention as well. Though there will not be any Tests in this tour, the 5-match ODI series should make for fascinating viewing. With a busy season ahead for both sides, this could serve as an opportunity for some of the big names to get back into the groove.
Skipper Steve Smith will be eager to put behind the controversy generated during the Sri Lanka tour and maintain Australia’s impressive run of form in the 50-overs format. With home advantage on their side, the Proteas might have something to prove amidst a challenging era for them. The newly stipulated ‘transformation targets’ which began during the Ireland fixture should be under scrutiny against the top-ranked ODI team.
Venue – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Date – 30th September (Friday)
Time – 1330 local/1700 IST (1130 GMT)
Broadcast – Ten 2 (Indian subcontinent)
Online Stream – www.tensports.com
South Africa – WLWLW
Australia – WWWWL
Faf du Plessis will take up the captaincy after AB de Villiers was ruled out of action for the next eight to ten weeks due to the requirement of a surgery on his elbow. However, Dale Steyn’s comeback into the ODI side should lift the spirits in the dressing room. Even though his previous appearance in the format had occurred almost a year earlier, the speedster’s presence is a definite boost for the hosts.
Despite some concerns regarding the availability of the experienced Hashim Amla due to sickness, du Plessis indicated that he will start in all probability. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir after missing the Ireland match should add to their bowling attack especially during the middle overs.
The think tank could find themselves in a dilemma regarding David Warner’s opening partner. Though the elegant Usman Khawaja produced a sublime knock against the Irish, Finch’s power-hitting might tilt the scales in his favor. Interestingly, Khawaja had himself earlier admitted, “You can never count your chickens in cricket or in life, you can't get too far ahead. I'm only here because Shaun Marsh hurt a finger and Finch was out with a broken finger as well, so I got an opportunity opening the batting.“
In the absence of key man Mitchell Starc because of a freakish mishap with a training equipment, the Aussie bowling unit looks inadequate on paper. However, the presence of Adam Zampa and John Hastings, when combined with their peerless fielding could make up for any shortcoming whatsoever.
Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (C), JP Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius/Kyle Abbott, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith (C), George Bailey, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (WK), John Hastings, Adam Zampa, Chris Tremain/Daniel Worrall and Scott Boland
In the previous ODI played at this venue, South Africa made a mockery of a 300-plus run chase against England with both Amla and de Kock scoring clinical centuries. Another high scoring match could be expected although the quicker bowlers might not mind operating here. Since summer has already taken center stage in the country, temperatures are expected to hover around the 30-degree mark.
- South Africa have won five of their last six ODI series at home with the only loss coming in a 3-match series against Pakistan during November 2013.
- Amongst all teams, South Africa’s win-loss ratio of 0.851 is the best against Australia in ODIs. From 91 matches, they have won 40 and lost 47.
- Warner needs 106 runs to reach the 3000-mark in ODIs while his team mate Bailey requires 110 to get to the same landmark.