South Africa vs Australia: Third T20

Written by Jason Dewey for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

South Africa vs Australia | Wednesday 9 March | Newlands | 18:00

Following an exhilarating win at the Wanderers, the Australians will be looking to claim their first T20 Series victory since November 2014. Incidentally, that win also came against the Proteas in a three-match series in which the South Africans won the first game.

Will history repeat itself or can the South Africans break the hearts of Steve Smith and his men as the sides look ahead to the World T20? Let’s take a look.

To Win Match
South Africa 8/10 | Draw 35/1 | Australia 1/1

South Africa
The South Africans will be gutted following their loss against the Australians on Sunday evening. The manner in which they lost will have annoyed Faf du Plessis and the South African management more than anything else. Having set a commanding 204-7 in their 20 overs, a poor bowling display from Chris Morris, David Wiese and Imran Tahir ultimately saw the hosts fall on the last ball of the game.

Things started out well for the South Africans after being put in to bat. Despite losing AB de Villiers in the second over, Quinton de Kock and du Plessis blitzed the Australian attack in the early part of the innings, taking the score to 77-2 before the former was bowled by Faulkner for 44. Du Plessis would go on to make a 41-ball 79 while David Miller – who has found some form of late – smashed a quick-fire 33.

To be frank, the South Africans lost the game because the bulk of the bowlers simply didn’t handle the pressure well enough. Imran Tahir was creamed to all corners of the Wanderers by David Warner while David Wiese followed up his impressive display in Durban with an absolutely shocking performance in which he conceded 58 runs in four overs. Chris Morris bowled a no-ball and three wides toward the end of the innings to keep the Aussies in it while Rabada – after getting rid of Warner in the first ball of the last over – bowled a further two wides.

Still, Rabada did magnificently well otherwise, as did Dale Steyn who made his first appearance for the Proteas since their tour of India. Looking ahead to the last T20, I simply can’t see Farhaan Berhadien keeping his place in the side. He should drop away for Hashim Amla while JP Duminy makes way for either Rilee Rossouw or Kyle Abbott – depending on whether Russell Domingo feels we need another bowler or batsman.

The Aussies have David Warner and Glenn Maxwell to thank for their astonishing victory over the South Africans on Sunday evening. Following a rubbish start, in which the visitors were reduced to 32-3 after five overs, the two came together to put on a world record fourth wicket T20 international partnership of 161.

Despite their victory, there will still be massive question marks over the Australian bowling attack. Josh Hazlewood, John Hastings and Mitchell Marsh simply haven’t been good enough of late, and were put to the sword by du Plessis, de Kock and Miller as the South Africans appeared to have taken the game out of the reach of the Australians.

Although James Faulkner and Maxwell kept things tidy in the middle overs, they’re not consistent performers with the ball and can’t be expected to keep things tight in every game. Looking at their squad, there really aren’t any bowlers that jump out at you in the same way the likes of Ravi Ashwin, Rabada or Malinga do. While they have an incredibly powerful top order, you simply can’t win the World T20 – or T20 internationals against other top-ranked teams – with such a powderpuff attack.

The Aussie attack has been comprehensively taken apart by India and now by South Africa. They're really missing the out and out pace that they've had in such abundance over the last four or five years. Whether or not they can square up against an in-form South African batting line-up remains to be seen, although I have my doubts.

Verdict: South Africa 8/10
Had it not been for a once in a blue moon performance from Maxwell and Warner, the South Africans would have cantered to victory against the Australians on Sunday. However, with the final T20 to be played at Newlands on a slower, lower deck; it’s advantage South Africa again. The Proteas simply possess a more balanced squad and look great value to claim the victory at 8/10.

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