Australia will be desperate to stop their slide in the international cricket summer, as they get ready to face South Africa in their only T20I clash on Saturday evening at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast. A 2-1 loss in the ODIs put the Australian problems into perspective and they will look to get back their winning touch back.
The Gold Coast is hosting its first-ever international cricket fixture, but it will be back in the news when the Big Bash kicks off. It will be used as a neutral venue for three pool games, but the focus for now will be on how the Aussies can stop the Proteas on this drop-in pitch.
The biggest worry for the Australian captain Aaron Finch is his side’s batting form. When they were whitewashed 3-0 by Pakistan in the UAE T20Is, it was their batsmen who came short. That all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile ended up topping the batting charts is a sad reflection of their batting struggles.
Changes are expected to the Aussie side, with most of their regular bowlers kept out of this game with an eye on the upcoming Test summer against India. However, with towering Billy Stanlake and the T20 ‘bowling Bradman’ Andrew Tye in the squad, the Australian attack does still pack a punch.
The Proteas come into this game having played a practice T20 match against the Cricket Australia XI, which they won very comfortably. Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram as the top three gives them a solid look. Add the in-form captain Faf du Plessis and David Miller, and South Africa have a unit that can set high targets.
It is their bowling that gives South Africa an edge as the likes of Lungi Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo were in cracking form in the ODIs. Throw Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada to the mix, and the Australians will have a tough act to follow.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Quinton de Kock is one name that is not just expensive on many DFS sites, but also very popular. That has got to do with the fact that his explosive top-order batting gives him a chance to knock fours and sixes at will. With the drop-in pitch set to offer pace and bounce, expect some edges to fly into his mits adding to your fantasy points.
Andrew Tye is a name that you can’t forget when it comes to T20 fantasy sides. The guy is a legend in T20 cricket and his assorted variety of slower balls make him a good pick to be among the wickets, at both ends of the bowling innings.
Chris Morris was unlucky to have not got a chance in the ODIs, but will be an important part of the T20I side. His all-round ability could come in handy as he can hit the long ball with ease.
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Australia (probable XI): 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 D Arcy Short, 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Ben McDermott 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Billy Stanlake
South Africa (probable XI): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Aiden Markram, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Heinrich Klaasen, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Imran Tahir