Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Date: Saturday, October 23
Australia – 7/10
South Africa – 11/10
In what will be the 13th match of the T20 World Cup and the 1st of the tournament proper or the Super 12, rivals Australia will take on South Africa in what is expected to be a thrilling match that will set the tone for this tournament in Abu Dhabu.
Australia go into this match on the back of a poor run of matches where they have only won once in five outings during their series against Bangladesh even though they rested some of their key players.
On the other hand, South African have been impressive over the past few months with series wins over the West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka and they have gone about their preparations with less fanfare.
The Australian top batting order is yet to find its form with David Warner managing a golden duck and one run off seven balls in the warm-up games against New Zealand and India respectively.
Steve Smith scored runs against New Zealand and India but his strike rate, which is important in T20 cricket, remains a concern and this means Glenn Maxwell is their on-form batter going into the tournament.
With ball in hand, Australia are going to rely on Kane Richardson, who picked up three wickets in the warm-up against New Zealand and spinner Adam Zampa, who got two in the same match, and Ashton Agar who got one wicket.
South African batting performance in the warm-up games was not fully convincing besides the sensational knock of Rassie van der Dussen who scored an unbeaten 101 off 51 balls against Afghanistan.
Captain Temba Bavuma scored 31 off 39 against Afghanistan and 46 off 42 against Pakistan in the warm-ups and a lot is going to be expected from Aiden Markram who scored 48 off 35 against Afghanistan.
South Africa’s bowling, which is regarded as one of the best in the tournament, look ready for tough match-ups with world-class bowlers like Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi on the frontline.
There is also able support in the form of Bjorn Fortuin, Keshav Maharaj and all-rounders Dwaine Pretorious and Wiaan Mulder and part timer Aiden Markram who can spin the ball a bit.
No injuries have been reported by the two teams.
Australia are going to rely on their top order batters in David Warner, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell but they will have to be at their best against Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi.