With World T20 is just one week away, Australia flies over the Indian Ocean to South Africa in order to prepare for the World T20 2016 scheduled in India. The hosts South Africa, who recently defeated England in ODIs and T20 after losing the two back to back Test series to India and England, are in good mood. The Proteas also defeated the host of World T20 India on a slow turning Indian pitches in a T20I series held last year.
Unlike the South Africans, who took their T20 preparation seriously, their opponent Australia played only eight matches since the last World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014. Australians are also coming to play this series after being whitewashed by India in a three-match series.
But, Steve Smith lead Australia would like to turn around the fortune in as they get into the groove of T20 cricket though they will miss star bowler Mitchell Starc.
South Africa often find Australia as their nemesis in big tournaments. So, a series victory in three matches series will boost Faf du Plessis lead South Africa in the build up to World T20, but a defeat to Australia will crush confidence level they earned in the last couple of months. This series will also prove how much South Africa ready for the cricket jamboree in India.
Australia, who are yet to win a T20 World Cup, will also try to find out how strong they are for World T20. At Kingsmead, which resembles subcontinent pitches will test both South Africa and Australia as the ball will turn viciously and a low scoring match is on the cards.
South Africa got Dale Steyn back in the team. The paceman spent time surfing and playing with his pets for the last two months as he was injured. He got back in the competitive match against England last week. So, a ‘hungry’ Dale Steyn will be observed by fans and experts alike to know how much ready he is for the World T20. He also needs a couple of practice matches to get into the grove. And a series against a nemesis Australia will charge him up.
On the other hand, Steve Smith’s Australia who are not much familiar with international T20 are in a hurry to settle down with a team for the mega cricket event. They got hard hitting batsman, talented spinner, and aggressive seamer. But, they will be tested by the well prepared Proteas. Australia has an uphill task to do.
South Africa is expected to play their best XI that means Quinton de Kock will open the innings with AB de Villiers. And if Dale Steyn features in the playing XI then Kayle Abbott will have no place in the team unless an allrounder is rested.
South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla, 2 AB de Villiers (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 JP Duminy, 5 David Miller, 6 Rilee Rossouw, 7 Chris Morris, 8 David Wiese, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Imran Tahir
Meanwhile, Usman Khawaja and Shane Watson will open the innings for Australia that means Aaron Finch will have no space in the team. Steve Smith will come at No. 3 followed by Glen Maxwell and James Faulkner. Spinner Adam Zampa has a bad stomach so, Aston Agar may get a T20 debut.
Australia: 1 Usman Khawaja, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 David Warner, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 James Faulkner, 7 Mitchell Marsh, 8 Peter Nevill (wk), 9 Andrew Tye/John Hastings, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Ashton Agar/Adam Zampa
Pitch conditions and weather forecast:
Steve Smith predicts a subcontinent like pitch in Kingsmead and he may get that. So, the slow turning pitch at Kingsmead means it will be a low scoring match. But, according to the weatherman, the temperature will be cool down in the evening from 30 degrees celsius to 20 degrees celsius. But, humidity will be high-90 percent.
ICC T20 Rankings: South Africa 2, Australia 7