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Tri-Nations Series: Australia vs South Africa Preview
Australia and South Africa will square off in the third match of the Tri-Series in Providence.
The Tri-Nations Series enters its third match where Australia – who steam-rolled the West Indies over the weekend – take on a South African side who still seem to be recovering from their World T20 hangover.
Can the Proteas claim their first log points of the Tri-Nations Series or will the Aussies open up the gap between themselves and the West Indies? Let’s take a look!
Australia vs South Africa | Tuesday 7 June | Providence | 18:30
To Win Match
Australia 13/20 | Tie 35/1 | South Africa 5/4
The Australians were magnificent in their six-wicket win over the West Indies on Sunday evening. Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon were in supreme form as the men from down under restricted a dangerous West Indies batting line-up. The hosts got off to a solid enough start with Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo taking them to 5-1 after 11 overs. That’s about as rosy as it got for Jason Holder and his men as they only managed to put on another 66 runs for their final nine wickets.
The Aussies – having dispatched the West Indies quite comfortably – will have their sites firmly fixed on the Proteas, who have struggled of late. On these turning wickets, Zampa, Lyon and Glenn Maxwell will all be keen to exploit the South Africans’ inability to handle the slower stuff on the dry West Indian decks.
While the Australians possess a strong bowling attack, their strength definitely lies with their batting. David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith form one of the best top orders in world cricket. Warner in particular has been in magnificent touch of late and has carried his form from the IPL onto the international stage.
The pint-sized Aussie destroyer batted through his side’s pursuit of the West Indies’ 116, scoring an unbeaten 55 from as many deliveries. The innings would have pleased coach, Darren Lehmann who needed someone in the top order to keep a level head while the Australians wobbled a tiny bit toward the end of their innings.
Looking ahead there shouldn’t be any major changes to the side that got the job done against the West Indies on Sunday. Maxwell’s place in the squad is under threat, though. The middle order pinch-hitter has battled for form of late and may keep his side in squad off the back of his ability of the ball.
South African cricket finds itself in a bit of a precarious position at the moment. There are plenty of talented youngsters in the squad who you feel may be on the brink of becoming world class talents - these guys include Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, and Rilee Rossouw. On top of these youngsters, there are established stars like AB de Villiers, Imran Tahir, and Hashim Amla.
Even with the wealth of talent available to Russel Domingo, his limited-overs sides have still underperformed woefully over the last year or so. This was evident in the shocking performance on Friday in which they were comfortably beaten by a far inferior West Indian side.
One of the few positives that the Proteas can draw from that game was the performance of Rossouw. The Knights’ top order batsman held his nerve magnificently well while the wickets of experienced players fell around him. One feels that Rossouw needed the runs after his last few performances for the national side left a lot to be desired. If he can’t capitalise on the 61 he made last time out, he may well find himself permanently relegated to franchise cricket for the remainder of his career – the pressure is on, let’s see how he handles it!
I was quite pleased with the way the South African attack performed on Friday while defending such a low total. Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, and Kyle Abbott were outstanding early on, restricting the West Indies’ scoring and picking up two vital sticks in the first 20 overs. Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso came into the piece a bit later and picked up a cluster of wickets in the middle overs, however, they were sold miserably short by their batsmen earlier on, and never really looked like defending 188.
Where to next for the Proteas? Well for starters, Farhaan Behardien has to go! He adds little – if not no value – to the squad at all. I suspect his place will be taken by Wayne Parnell who will be looking to impress on his return to the international stage. The Cobras’ all-rounder had an excellent domestic season with both bat and ball and will be desperate to cement a place in Russel Domingo’s plans.
Verdict: South Africa 5/4
I’m being a bit brave here, but I think the Proteas will come back stronger following their dismal display against the West Indies. There is just far too much quality in this side for them to simply roll over and accept defeat to their most bitter rivals. Back the Proteas at 5/4!
Value Bet: Hashim Amla to top score for South Africa at 11/4
The South Africans are likely to face a barrage of spin from the Australians on Tuesday evening, and who better to dispatch them than Hashim Amla? The bearded-wonder is easily South Africa’s best player of spin and looks excellent value to top score for the side at 11/4.