10:00 AM UTC: Australia vs South Africa, Group 1, Super 12s, Abu Dhabi, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
Australia and South Africa will battle it out to begin the Super 12s leg of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. This game will also act as the opener for Group 1 which has been labeled as the “Group of Death” due to the presence of other teams in England, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Bangladesh.
Warner and Finch struggles
Warner has logged single-digit scores in the last four games and looked out of touch in the warmups. On his day, the opening batter can bring a storm to the best of the bowling lineups but he has been out of form for quite a while. While his opening partner Aaron Finch has scored runs, he has struggled to lift the tempo during the last few games. How will the duo fare in this match?
Australian middle-order can create a difference
Mitchell Marsh may potentially get in the team and play at number three. Steve Smith can be a decent option at number 4, although, he is not a power hitter, he can act as an anchor. A lot will fall upon the bombastic batter Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis who will be asked to up the scoring rate during the middle overs. Matthew Wade can be a decent finisher but how will the team fare against a strong South African bowling?
The South African rhythm
South Africa has won nine out of its last ten games and the team’s top order has clicked well. Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks can both accumulate runs at a quick pace and stabilize the top-order. Meanwhile, Rassie van der Dussen hit a century during the warm-up. On the other hand, skipper Temba Bavuma can provide an anchor role by ticking off singles and doubles with periodical boundaries. While David Miller can romp it to bring the run rate up and Heinrich Klassen is a quick-fire option too. The batting looks in great touch and will challenge the Aussies.
Both teams offer pace and control. Australia can present Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins, who complement each other well. Meanwhile, South Africa’s Anriche Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi are superb pace options. However, on slower UAE wickets, spinners will play a huge role and the battle between Tabraiz Shamsi and Aussies’ spinners in Ashton Agar or Adam Zampa will play a huge role. Note that Shamsi is the number one T20I bowler in the world and offers a lot of control of variations.
There can be a lot of runs
Abu Dhabi pitch showed in the First Round that a lot of runs can be made, with scores reaching as far as 170s. Both teams have a lot of power hitters who can clear the rope when the timing is right, so this can turn out to be a run-fest. Spinners will play a huge role in stifling the flow of runs. Although, South Africa has the advantage of recent form and playing as a unit more often recently, the Australia hitters like Maxwell, Warner, Finch, and Stoinis can be game-changers.