South Africa has had a really poor World Cup. They have only two wins so far in this competition and have looked anything but confident so far. Their bowling and batting both have suffered throughout the tournament and except for Imran Tahir, the rest of the bowling has been inconsistent. Batting was the biggest issue for South Africa. The top order struggled were underlined by a completely out of form Hashim Amla. Captain Faf du Plessis also did not have a great tournament by his standards and the out of form middle order bats David Miller and Jean Paul Duminy did not help matters for South Africa.
Quinton de Kock though was the only one who looked in form along with the Rassie van der Dussen. Their bowling also struggled as they were plagued with injuries and their spearhead Kagiso Rabada was off-color through most of this tournament. South Africa would want a win to end the tournament on a high as there are lots of changes expected in South Africa set up after this World Cup. They would want to build a team around a core of young players with Faf du Plessis at the helm. This game will be used by South Africa as a stepping stone for that change. The bowlers finally looked like getting back into some sort of a rhythm against Sri Lanka and they will like to continue the Sam against a strong Australian team.
Australia’s campaign has been the complete opposite of South Africa. They have looked absolutely strong this tournament and despite some struggles at the start, they have just grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed. Their wins against New Zealand and England showed their strength and they have been the most difficult team to beat in this competition. The opening combination of Aaron Finch and David Warner have been brilliant and even though Steven Smith hasn’t come into his own so far Usman Khawaja and Alex Carey have stepped up for the Aussies. The only concern Australia would have with their batting in the form of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell. Both haven’t contributed much with the bat which puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the middle order.
The bowling though has been brilliant. Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc have been amazing with the new ball as the latter has a staggering 24 wickets in the tournament so far. Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have done their part well and the opponents have struggled for runs against the Aussies. They may try to make some changes in the XI for this game but again this is a very important game to win for the Aussies if they want to finish at the top of the table.
Head to head:
There hasn’t been much between the two teams in ODIs historically but again Australia has a 3-1 advantage in the World Cups though.
Jason Behrendorff (Australia): Since Jason Behrendorff took the new ball for Australia in the competition he has been brilliant. He started off with a brilliant fifer against England and has gone from strength to strength. Considering the struggles South Africa have had with their top order Behrendorff with his swing will make it difficult with the new ball.
David Warner (Australia): David Warner has been in brilliant form in this world cup and he already has 516 runs in this tournament. He will be once again important for Australia if they need to put up a big total against the South African attack.
Faf du Plessis (South Africa): South Africa would be hoping to end the tournament on a high with a win against Australia and Faf du Plessis as a batter and a captain will be crucial if they have to achieve the same. He finally looked in some good touch against South Africa and he would want to carry that form into this game as well.
Imran Tahir (South Africa): Imran Tahir has been South Africa’s best bowler in this tournament and this in all probability will be his final appearance for South Africa in ODIs. The veteran spinner would want to turn in another brilliant performance to end his stellar ODI career with a win. Considering the struggles Australia have against good spinners, he will be crucial for South Africa in the middle overs.
What they said?
“I think Cricket South Africa is in a good place. It’s producing young cricketers,” Said Faf du Plessis. “If you look at the last year or two, there’s been so many young cricketers jumping through into the main side, probably more than ever, so that means there is talent, there’s definitely talent and we are performing, you know, and obviously prior to this World Cup we are performing, we have been playing winning cricket, so long as you are producing cricketers that are winning there is nothing that needs to change.” Concluded the South African skipper assuring that lack of talent is not an issue.
“He seems pretty good,” Said Aaron Finch about Glenn Maxwell’s fitness, “He said he’s been able to hold the bat no problem, it will just be a case of how he feels in the net when he has a hit. We will leave that call up to him if he feels confident enough to get out there and do the job.”
David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff
South Africa XI:
Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
Australia and South Africa have always had great battles in white ball cricket. South Africa, in fact, beat Australia in an ODI series late last year which makes this matchup interesting. The confidence of the teams though has taken a seesaw change over the last few months. Australia looks extremely strong and is overwhelming favorites to win this encounter but again South Africa might just have just a little bit left in the tank to make it difficult for the defending champions.