Australia Have Little Margin for Error Against Rampant Proteas


Source: AP

Australia are of the teams to have got a tough draw at the World Cup this time. India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the first four matches, plus the travel, means that there is hardly space to breathe on and off the field. It can be more suffocating if you have started with a defeat.

After being choked by India on a slow Chennai pitch, Australia are unlikely to see conditions change for the better in Lucknow. In four ODIs and six T20Is, the new stadium has developed a reputation for having iffy pitches. It’s not the typical Indian surface for white-ball games. And then, South Africa bossed them last month. Trailing 0-2 in the series, they won each of the last three by over 100 runs.

They say this game is about confidence. South Africa will be having lots of it. Having started the tournament without the tag of potential last-four entrants, they racked up a World Cup record 428 against Sri Lanka in the first match. In the three matches prior to that, their totals read 338, 416 and 315. The top six are among the runs. Most of them can operate in top gear. 

The test might be different at the venue popularly known as Ekana Stadium. In the four ODIs here (three between West Indies and Afghanistan), the average total batting first has been 234. In 12 innings in T20Is, 150 was surpassed just four times. It was anything but a belter. The ball spun, forcing batters to rethink and spinners to adapt to something they don’t usually come across in ODIs.

This is where Australia are low on resources. The leg-spin of Adam Zampa and off-spin of Glenn Maxwell can be a handy combination. But if one of them goes for runs, there are no back-ups, as was seen against India. This might become a recurrent theme of this World Cup, that the five-time champions came to India underprepared in this department. Their next match is also in Lucknow.

On the other hand, this is Australia’s chance to catch the South African batters by surprise on a different kind of surface. They muscled their way to some huge totals on favourable pitches. Here, Australia can take pace off the ball and make them manufacture shots. If he is fit to bowl, the return of Marcus Stoinis should be a valuable addition to an attack too dependent on pace.

The Australian batters look better equipped for the challenges expected on a slower wicket. The roles of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne will become pivotal if that turns out to be the case. South Africa have an able pair of spinners in Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, other than part-timer Aiden Markram. But the cumulative experience on slow wickets is higher in the Aussie line-up.

All said and done, this is a must-win match for Australia. They will have seven more matches after this one, but two defeats first up might complicate things later on. For South Africa, it’s about posting another win that will leave them in good stead going forward.

Time and venue details

October 12 from 14:00 IST. Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow.

Expected conditions

Partly cloudy, but no forecast of rain, and the sun should be out for a better part of the day. The pitch has favoured spinners and prevented huge totals in the previous ODIs here. If that remains unchanged, don’t expect a high-scoring contest.

Possible XIs

Australia: If Marcus Stoinis is fully fit, he will replace Cameron Green.

David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis/Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.

South Africa: Looking at the pitch, they may be tempted to bring in Tabraiz Shamsi, their left-arm unorthodox spinner.

Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Gerald Coetzee/Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi.


Markram vs Australia’s spinners: Shifting to the middle-order has worked wonders for Markram. He is in rich vein of form, having blasted the fastest-ever World Cup century in the previous match. He is holding the innings together and also providing late explosion. The Aussies have a headache in him.

Warner vs Rabada: This is a subplot which can potentially make or break one team. Warner looked good against India but failed in the 40s. A big one can set Australia up for the match. Rabada knows this. How he responds to the challenge will be interesting to watch early on in the Aussie innings.

Team Speak

“In my mind, I want us to be 8-1 when we hit the finals, that’s all I’m thinking. It would be nice to say we could go through undefeated, but obviously that chance is gone now. That’s just the competitive side of me. I just want to hit the next game as hard as we possibly can, take South Africa down and go from there.” – Glenn Maxwell (Australia all-rounder).

“Having had personal experiences against them when their backs are against the wall, they are going to come out firing. Knowing their personality, it doesn’t take them away from their style of play, they are going to come harder.” – JP Duminy (South Africa’s batting coach).

The post Australia Have Little Margin for Error Against Rampant Proteas appeared first on RevSportz | Latest Sports News.


Australia are of the teams to have got a tough draw at the World Cup this time. India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the first four matches, plus…
The post Australia Have Little Margin for Error Against Rampant Proteas appeared first on RevSportz | Latest Sports News. 

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