|Scorecard:||India v Pakistan|
|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2012/13|
DateLine: 30th September 2012
Australia vs South Africa
World T20 2012
Super Eight Stage
Another classic encounter beckons for this group as the "best of enemies," as they were once called, meet today. South Africa and Australia history at major tournaments needs only one number to get blood boiling: 1999.
But there are others. In the 2007 World Cup, South Africa lost twice to Australia, once in the group stage and once in the semi-final. Australia have had the better of South Africa in major tournaments since Sydney 1992, when South Africa beat them by nine wickets.
This time, the contest is no more insubstantial. Australia could seal their place in the semi-final with a win and ease their passage to a trophy they have yet to lay claim on. If that happens, South Africa could be looking for the exit signs of yet another major tournament.
If it does not, South Africa will live to fight another day, something they have promised to do in pursuit of the silverware.
The George Bailey-led Aussie side's nine-wicket win over 2007 champions India on Friday must have done a world of good to their morale after topping Group B with wins over Ireland and the West Indies and they would start as favorites today.
South Africa, on the other hand, would have to regroup after they shockingly let slip the Super Eights game against Pakistan from a winning position. The Proteas virtually had the game in their bag before allowing Umar Gul to run away with the match later. The South Africans cannot repeat such a costly mistake against Australia as that would mean exit for them and would only strengthen their "chokers" tag label in big tournaments.
Australia are the in-form side in the tournament with the top-order batsmen in roaring form and the front-line bowlers among the wickets. The main worry for South Africa would be how to stop the swashbuckling Australian openers Shane Watson and David Warner, who have become the most successful pair in the T20 Internationals, for dictating terms on their opposition bowlers. The duo mercilessly sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt in their side's nine-wicket mauling in their first Super Eights match on Friday.
Veteran Mike Hussey has also done his bit at one down though the marauding openers have not given him much chance to play his usual role of the 'man in crisis'. The fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Watson also came through against India as they produced pace and bounce on a slowish Premadasa strip though they were expensive against the West Indies in their group match. Left-arm spinner Brad Hogg has taken two wickets from the three matches he has played so far without being expensive and he can be handful if the pitch assists slow bowlers.
If there is any cause of worry for the Australians, it could be their middle order batsmen as they have not really been tested in the tournament so far.
South Africa should blame themselves for the heart-breaking loss against Pakistan as they allowed number nine batsman Umar Gul to hit a 17-ball 32 to take his side to victory after being reduced to 76 for seven. Faced with a do-or-die situation South Africa would be looking up to fast bowler Dale Steyn and veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis to come up trumps while also hoping that the top-order, including Hashim Amla, post a big total. Amla and his opening partner Richard Levi have not done much in the two matches after remaining not out in the group match against Zimbabwe and they need to fire against Australia if they want to stay afloat in the tournament.
The Proteas have a solid batting with the likes of Kallis, J P Duminy and captain AB de Villiers coming down the order but they could score just 133 against Pakistan on Friday. On the bowling front though, it will be interesting to see who does better, a relatively inexperienced Australians or the South Africans who have veteran fast bowlers in the likes of Steyn, Kallis and Morkel brothers.
In the spin department, another veteran Johan Botha has not done much in the three matches he played so far, having taken just one wicket but he can come in handy on the slowish Premadasa pitch.
Australia (From): George Bailey (Capt.), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
South Africa (From): AB de Villiers (Capt.), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Pakistan Cricket Website)