T20 World Cup | AUS vs SA: Familiar foes gear up to light up the Super 12 opener in unfamiliar territory

Abhishek Singh

Abhishek Singh

Author| Oct 22, 7:28 PM

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It is finally the round that everyone has been waiting for in the World Cup. The Super 12 is ready to begin and what better than to start the most crucial stage than with a clash between two of the world’s most competitive sides especially when they face each other - Australia and South Africa. Tales galore of the historic tight games between the two sides, however, none beats the 1999 ODI World Cup semi-final clash. 

But when it comes to the T20 World Cup, the sides really haven’t had a memorable game as the only time they met in a World Cup tie was way back in 2012 in Sri Lanka where Australia overpowered the Proteas in a five-wicket win. And as far as T20I tussle is concerned, then in 23 games, Australia have won 13 and South Africa eight with the recent record favouring the Aussies 6-4 in last 10 ties. 

Unfamiliar territory

However, all the records discussed above are from either Australia or South Africa or territories that were familiar to both sides in some way or the other. But this time around they are going to be playing in Sheikh Zayed Stadium where both the teams have never met each other before. Also while Australia has played only one T20I at this venue, losing by a huge margin of 66 runs, South Africa have won two out of two games, both of which came way back in 2010. 

Though both South African and Australian players have played in the IPL in the last two seasons and are very well aware of the conditions of Abu Dhabi, playing as a team and knowing your strengths and weaknesses on a particular wicket is different from playing individually for other teams in a franchise tournament. Thus both the teams are at the same level as far as the familiarity with conditions is concerned. 

Form leading up to the World Cup

South Africa have been in great touch coming to the World Cup as they beat Sri Lanka and Ireland 3-0 in T20Is and also won a five-match series against defending champions West Indies 3-2. Out of the last 10 matches, they have won nine and even in the World Cup warm-up games they beat Afghanistan and Pakistan from situations where it seemed like they might just fumble. 

On the other hand, the Australian team haven’t really had a good run-up to the World Cup, losing 11 of their last 15 T20Is that they have played in this year. This includes losses against New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh. 

Even after taking into consideration that they were not with their best of the resources in series against Bangladesh and West Indies, the results were just too bad to even discuss anything beyond them. The warm-up games in this World Cup haven’t been too bright for the Kangaroos either as they barely managed to chase down 158 against New Zealand while against India they were hit all over the park. 

Thus on the basis of form, South Africa seem to be having an upper hand over the Aussies. 

Australia vs South Africa: Match Details

Match Number - 13

Date and Time: October 23, 2021, 03:30 pm IST, 02:00 pm Local, 10:00 am GMT

Venue: Shiekh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Broadcast and Livestream: Star Sports and Hotstar

Pitch Report

In the four matches that have been played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in this World Cup so far, the wicket has behaved in a manner typical to slow and low wickets of UAE. It is not a rank turner, but there is something for the spinners if they apply themselves well and the bounce is not two-paced, but salwar ones and cutters can be very useful and so can be a total in the range of 160 or above. 

Weather Forecast

The temperatures in the day are going to remain in between the lower to mid-thirties throughout the course of the game. Humidity will be low, below 45 and hence not much sweating for the players as compared to the recently concluded IPL. the best bet in such conditions would be to win the toss and bat first, give your spinners a chance to use the wicket second and try and extract some help. 

What did the captains say? 

Aaron Finch, the Aussie captain was confident of his all-rounders to bowl four overs among them and is thus going with only four specialist bowlers. 

“We are going with seven specialist batters and four specialist bowlers. We have got a lot of confidence in the depth of our squad and got a lot of confidence in our all-rounders in Maxwell, Stonis and Marsh to bowl four overs,” he said in the pre-match press conference. 

On the other hand, Temba Bavuma was also chuffed about his team’s performance so far leading up to the World Cup. 

“In terms of coming up against Australia, there's no bigger motivation for the guys. Clashes against Australia have always been full of fire and we don't expect it to be any different tomorrow. We won't be undermining them by looking at their past results. We know what type of team they are and it will be important we bring our A-game,” he said in the pre-match presser. 

Team News


With Finch clarifying that the team would be going with four specialist bowlers thus the question of Ashton Agar playing becomes an important one as Pat Cummins form in the warm-up games wasn’t great. However considering that the Aussies like to back their stars, both Cummins and David Warner look like certainties playing in this game at least.  

Probable XI

David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

South Africa

Though spinner Tabraiz Shamsi suffered a groin injury in the warm-up game against Pakistan, Bavuma in the pre-match presser confirmed that he would be available for selection and hence it is assumed that he would be part of the Playing XI. With Rassie van der Dussen in great form, and Aiden Markram and David Miller being great support above and below him, the South African batting packs a heavy punch. 

Probable XI

Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.

CE XI Fantasy team

Wicketkeeper - Quinton de Kock

Batters - Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Steve Smith

All-rounders - Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis

Bowlers - Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa

Vice-Captain - Rassie van der Dussen

Captain - Glenn Maxwell 

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