Abu Dhabi, Oct 22 (IANS): Australia and South Africa will be looking for a strong start in the Group 1 of Super 12 stage in the ICC men's T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Both Australia and South Africa have not won the mens T20 WC trophy. But on form, South Africa appear to be slightly more favourites than Australia.
Coming into the tournament, Australia had suffered 4-1 series losses to West Indies and Bangladesh on away tours. But with the main players available for the mega event, expect Aaron Finch's men to be at their best despite having mixed results in warm-up matches. In the warm-up matches, Australia overcame New Zealand in a thriller but were defeated comprehensively by India.
They will be more concerned with the lack of runs from their prolific opening pair of Finch and David Warner. Warner, the left-hander, hasn't been at his menacing best this year. With scores of 0 and 2 for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second half of IPL 2021 in the UAE, Warner was dropped for the rest of the season. With scores of 0 and 1 in warm-up matches, his poor run of scores continued in UAE.
Australia still continues to place their trust in Warner coming out of his wretched form.
Finch, on the other hand, hasn't played much after a knee surgery so has Pat Cummins, who stayed back in Australia for the birth of his son. The advantage with Australia is that their middle-order looks solid with Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh in great form. Australia possesses a variety of bowlers in pace and spin, who can work their magic on slow pitches of the UAE.
South Africa are going into the match high on confidence after winning the T20I series against defending champions West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka this year. Add to it, they won both warm-up matches with ease.
With the bat, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen hold the key, especially with regular captain Temba Bavuma coming back from a thumb fracture. The concern for them will be David Miller's form and a long tail starting from eighth position.
In the bowling department, expect spinner Tabraiz Shamsi to give a tough time to Australia's batting apart from the pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi. Expect the clash between two teams, with plenty in common, to be an entertaining one.
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner and Adam Zampa
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi and Rassie van der Dussen