Preview – Strong and in form Australia look clear favorites against deflated South Africa
The last time Australia and South Africa met in an ODI series, the Proteas registered a thumping 2-1 victory. That was on Australia’s tour to South Africa early last year where South Africa walloped their opponents in all formats comfortably. Those were different times, though, and things have changed dramatically.
In the ICC World Cup 2019, South Africa are already knocked out from the semi-final race and are placed 8th in the points table with just 5 points in 8 games. Australia, on the other hand, have already qualified for the semi-finals and are sitting pretty at the top of the points table with 14 points in 8 games at a net run rate of +1.000.
Thus the World Cup 2019 game between Australia and South Africa at Manchester on the 06th July has become a dead rubber. Undoubtedly, this is pretty disappointing as Australia and South Africa have given us some stunning World Cup games in the past – the 1999 semi-finals being the most memorable one.
Australia will be looking to assert their dominance and win the game comfortably so that they can remain on the top of the points table. South Africa would be playing for pride.
Australia’s batting unit has been excellent this World Cup led by captain Aaron Finch and his opening partner David Warner, both the leading scorers of this edition. Usman Khwaja and wicket-keeper Alex Carrey have ably supported them. The others like Steve Smith, Glen Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis would like to make an impact now to be better prepared for the semis.
Australia’s bowling has been improving steadily with each game with Mitchell Starc – the leading wicket-taker of the World Cup 2019 – leading the charge. Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff have done an excellent job too and can trouble the South African batsmen.
South Africa’s batting has been a disappointment this tournament and captain Faf du Plessis would be eager to put a decent performance one last time. The likes of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, and Aiden Markram would like to be counted as well in their previous game.
In the bowling department, South Africa has been decent with Chris Morris and leg-spinner Imran Tahir taking the most wickets. Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Andile Phehlukwayo have been disappointments. But Dwaine Pretorius showed promise in the last game against Sri Lanka with his seam and swing and can make an impact again.
Pitch Conditions and Australia vs South Africa Prediction:
The pitch at Old Trafford, Manchester, is expected to be a belter. The top two scores on this venue – 397-6 and 336-5 – came in World Cup 2019 alone. Thus we can expect the pitch to be favoring the batsmen unless the surface slows down in the middle overs.
If Australia bats first, they should get somewhere in the range of 300-320. South Africa, with their fragile batting, are expected to score at least 280 on this pitch if they bat first.
Considering the overall strength and how they are peaking just at the right time in the World Cup, Australia look to be clear favorites for this match. The Proteas would have to put up an exceptional performance to stop the Aussie juggernaut.