South Africa might not have won the T20I series against England, but they managed to push the English team to their limits. The Proteas are looking for a completely different outfit under the new leadership and are playing a fearless brand of cricket.
The Aussies haven’t had a lot of T20I cricket under their belt in recent times. They played a couple of T20I series at the start of the Australian summer and have been playing Test cricket after that. However, they are a powerful unit in the shortest format of the game.
This is expected to be a heated series considering the recent history attached to the rivalry of the two sides. The Aussies are touring South Africa for the first time after the ball-tampering scandal and the two main culprits of the infamous incident are back into the squad.
David Warner and Steve Smith would want to let their bats do all the talking, as they have done since their comeback from a 12-month ban. The duo has piled on the runs in international cricket of late and will be key at the top of the order for Australia once again.
There are a couple of injury issues with both sides. While Australia lost Glenn Maxwell ahead of the tour who underwent elbow surgery, South Africa are without the services of Temba Bavuma who was ruled out of the first game due to a hamstring injury.
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Date: February 21, 2020 (Friday)
Time: 09:30 PM IST
Venue: Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
The weather forecast for the game is not great. There are chances of rain in the evening and the it will get worse as the evening progresses. The fans would desperately hope the rain doesn’t spoil the party because it’s a much-anticipated series and a short one as well.
The pitch at the Wanderers Stadium is traditionally hard and bouncy, however, it doesn’t offer too much of lateral movement unless it has a green tinge to it, which is not supposed to be there for a T20I game. It should be a good surface to bat on and the high altitude of the ground will help the ball travel a long distance as well. This pitch has produced a lot of high scoring contests in the past and it might be the same again.
Faf du Plessis might open the batting in Temba Bavuma’s absence and David Miller might bat at No. 4. Heinrich Klaasen, who hit the ball long and crisp in the third T20I against Australia, will retain his spot in the XI and will be South Africa’s finisher, along with Andile Phehlukwayo.
Kagiso Rabada is back and will spearhead South Africa’s attack along with Dale Steyn. Lungi Ngidi will be the third seamer, while Tabraiz Shamsi will continue to be the lone specialist spinner for the Proteas.
Predicted XI: Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi
Australia will use D’Arcy Short and Matthew Wade in the middle order, despite both of them being top order batsmen in white-ball cricket. Mitchell Marsh will be the batting all-rounder for the visitors and will be slotted at No. 7. He will take up the finishing duties, alongside the wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey.
Australia have a choice to make between Sean Abbott and Kane Richardson for the third fast bowler’s role. While both of them have got good variations and can bowl in the death, Abbott might be preferred as he can bat a bit as well.
Predicted XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steven Smith, D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (WK), Sean Abbot, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa
South Africa are on a decent run of form, but Australia are a more balanced side with both bat and ball. Although this is their first game on the tour, the Aussies might still prove to be a bit too strong for the home team. The prediction is for Australia to win the match and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
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