Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
South Africa v Australia | Sunday 6 March | The Wanderers | 14:30
A maiden T20 international 50 from the belligerent David Miller saw his side to victory at Kingsmead on Friday evening. The win sees the Proteas take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
So it’s advantage South Africa as the teams head to the Wanderers to do battle in the 2nd T20 international. Can the hosts wrap up the Series on the highveld or will the visitors restore parity?
To Win Match
South Africa 7/10 | Draw 35/1 | Australia 11/10
Friday evening’s fixture was a big test of the Proteas T20 credentials, and they came through it with flying colours. The Australia’s may have come into the game a bit undercooked – they had only played four T20’s in 2016 before Friday night’s fixture – but they still had some of the most dangerous batsmen in the world tuning out at Kingsmead.
Imran Tahir, David Wiese, and Kagiso Rabada were superb in nullifying the Australian batting threat. Tahir picked up three sticks and only conceded 24 runs from his allotted four overs while Wiese and Rabada managed to pick up two wickets each. Their displays with the ball helped restrict the Australians to a total of 157 – which isn't the hardest chase at a ground as small as Kingsmead.
The Proteas got off to a bit of a nervy start with Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers sent packing before the third over was completed. Faf du Plessis steadied the innings with a controlled 40 run knock. Once he was dismissed, it was up to the two Daves to see the Proteas home. Miller and Wiese rose to the occasion with the former scoring a maiden T20 century and the latter contributing a vital 13 runs off 11 balls. While there were some nerves at the end with Wiese being dismissed and Morris following him back to the pavilion shortly afterwards, Miller managed to see his side over the line with four balls to spare.
I can’t forsee the Proteas making too many changes for the second T20 as they’ll want to wrap up the series as quickly as possible.
The Australians lack of T20 international exposure is starting to show. Their top order struggled to get going as is evident when you look at some of their batting scorecard. Steve Smith ate up 17 balls and only managed to contribute six runs in his short-lived innings while Usman Khawaja took ten balls to notch up nine runs. Run rates as slow as that are always going to have a detrimental effect on a batting innings.
Aaron Finch, Dave Warner, and Mitch Marsh were the only Australian batsmen who acclimatised to the bog standard conditions – yes the ball was nipping around at the top of their innings, and Tahir was getting a bit of purchase off the Kingsmead deck, but the Australians poor batting performance was more down to average shot selection rather than the conditions.
Their young bowling attack faired a bit better than their batting order. Nathan Coulter-Nile was brilliant; picking up four wickets while going at less than a run a ball. Their spinner, Zampa, restricted scoring but failed to make a breakthrough. Andrew Tye – who was extremely economical at this year’s big bash – was the weak link in the chain. He went for 40 runs in his spell; which is simply not good enough when you’re defending such a modest total.
There must be a few worried faces in the Australian camp after such a dour performance, especially with the T20 World Cup fast approaching. They looked a bit one-dimensional with the ball in hand while their batting stalwarts seem to be struggling for form, particularly Glen Maxwell.
I suspect there may be a few changes to the Australian team for the second T20. Shane Watson is likely to come in for one of the faltering Australian batsmen while I can see Dave Warner reverting back to his preferred opening slot.
Verdict: South Africa 7/10
The Proteas seem a lot more settled than their counterparts, who seem a bit lost at sea currently. My money is on the Proteas wrapping up the series with a game to spare.
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