Tri-Nation Series: South Africa vs Australia Preview

South Africa and Australia will renew hostilities on Saturday evening in St Kitts and Nevis.

A rather underwhelming ODI in Providence saw the Proteas open up their account with a thumping bonus point win over Australia.

The two aforementioned sides now jet off to St Kitts and Nevis where the next leg of the Tri-Nations Series is due to take place at the Warner Park Sporting Complex. Can the Proteas claim another win over their southern hemisphere rivals or will the Aussies show a bit more fight this time around? Let’s take a look!

South Africa vs Australia | Saturday 11 June | St Kitts and Nevis | 18:30

To Win Match
South Africa 5/4 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 13/20

South Africa
The South Africans will be in buoyant mood as they make the short trip from Guyana to St Kitts and Nevis having successfully defended 189 in their last encounter with the Aussies.

Following a rather calamitous batting display, aided by some equally shocking umpiring and poor match awareness by normally unflappable senior players – I’m looking at you, Hash – the South Africans bowled brilliantly to dismiss Steve Smith and his charges for 142.

Much credit has to go to Farhaan Behardien who decided to put in one of his best performances with the bat in South African colours just a few days after I had called for his head – thanks Farhaan! Jokes aside, the Titans’ all-rounder was magnificent on the day and full value for his 82-ball 62. He timed his innings perfectly, rotating the strike regularly and punishing the Australian bowlers whenever they offered too much width.

Interestingly enough, no other batsman in the South African innings managed to hit a boundary in the last 36.4 overs of the innings – that’s 220 balls – other than Behardien who managed 4 fours and a six.

For the sake of my own sanity, I’ll avoid touching on some of the umpiring decisions made in the previous match as well as some of the indifferent batting performances from some of our more senior players. Instead, I’ll harp on about our ever-improving bowling attack a bit.

Kagiso Rabada was again at his magnificent best last time out. Whenever the youngster gets tossed the ball he seems to make things happen for his side. The 21-year-old claimed three wickets in his seven overs including a peach of a Yorker to Nathan Coulter-Nile. Wayne Parnell also performed well on his return to the national side claiming two wickets for just 23 runs in his six overs.

I was also mightily impressed with the spin trio of Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso and Tabraiz Shamsi, who all played the conditions perfectly; each restricted the scoring while picking up regular wickets. It was especially refreshing to see Shamsi do so well on debut – it’s been a long time since the Proteas have had a proper Chinaman in their ranks and Shamsi could well fill that void if he continues to perform.

While Russel Domingo will be tempted to rotate his squad and bring the likes of Chris Morris and Kyle Abbott back, I’d be happy to see the squad remain the same. We could well see one of the seamers return though as the conditions in St Kitts and Nevis are better suited to pace than Guyana.

There is obviously one forced change after Rilee Rossouw dislocated his shoulder in the last game against the Aussies. Dean Elgar has been called up to the side although Faf du Plessis could fit after recovering from a finger problem he picked up during the IPL.

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The Australians will be bitterly disappointed after putting such a sub-par batting display – albeit in difficult conditions – against the South Africans. With the amount of quality they possess in their top order, 189 should have been absolutely no problem.

As it were, they simply weren’t able to get a foothold in their chase with only Aaron Finch, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood getting into double figures. The pressure is mounting on Glenn Maxwell who has endured an uncharacteristically lean spell over the last few months.

His place in the squad is more than likely going to be taken by George Bailey. The Tasmanian is a class act and will add a bit of solidity to a middle and lower order that looks as shaky as anything at the minute.

Much the same as the South Africans, the Aussies put in a magnificent bowling display with Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile doing the damage early on. Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa look a good pairing throughout the middle overs too with the former keeping things tight and the latter providing a constant wicket-taking threat with his legspinners.

Looking ahead, the Aussies – much like the South Africans – should fair a bit better in St Kitts and Nevis where the ball comes onto the bat a bit more. We can probably start to expect scores in excess of 200 as we move ahead into the second half of the series, especially with all three teams possessing some serious firepower at the top of their respective orders.

Verdict: South Africa 5/4
The Proteas will be on a high following their victory over the Australians in Providence on Tuesday. They seem to be more settled at the moment and look excellent value at 5/4.

Value Bet: Steve Smith to top score for Australia at 4/1
The pressure is now firmly on Steve Smith who has struggled for form during this series. The Aussie captain tends to come good when he’s under pressure, and at 4/1 he represents some outstanding value at 4/1 – don’t stake the rent money on this one, but it’s worth a dip!

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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