South Africa will be looking to gain some momentum ahead of the ICC World T20 2014 © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Mar 11, 2014
After an evenly fought Test series the sudden shift to the T20Is is not something South Africa and Australia are concerned about. In fact, the entire outcome of the series is irrelevant as long as the momentum and form of key players are intact ahead of the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh. The second of the three-match T20I series too is under rain threat like the first one.
Both teams are battling injury concerns and are likely to play safe before fielding their playing XI. Australia were keen on giving their oldest member Brad Hogg a check but a tight hamstring injury will force him to sit out. ”It’s a weird one. I can do everything except bowl. Every time I plant that front leg down, I can’t get over there. But I’m glad it’s happened now and not over in Bangladesh,” Hogg was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press (AAP). James Faulkner too is out with a knee injury.
“The plan’s never really been for him to play any of the matches here. We don’t want to rush him; he had significant surgery five weeks ago. He’s a young guy. We don’t want to jeopardise his long-term prospects, so we’re taking him along very slowly,” team doctor Peter Brukner said to AAP.
For the Proteas their inform pacer Morne Morkel and limited overs specialist Lonwabo Tsotsobe are fully fit. Dale Steyn misses out.
Both teams have some power-packed players to make for an exciting contest. South Africa have five aggressive players in the middle starting from Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller and comeback man Albie Morkel.
In Morkel, South Africa have a handy pace bowling option as well. Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso are the two options in sin department. The later would be preferred thanks to his T20 experience.
For Australia, it starts from the top with David Warner and Aaron Finch, an explosive opening pair. Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell can be a huge threat. Faulkner too could have bolstered the lineup but Australia would be happy to see him performing without any niggles for World T20 rather than risk him playing with an injury at Durban.
Australia will field a different pace bowling look with Mitchell Starc back and Dan Christian joining Mitchell Johnson. With Brad Hogg battling to get fit, leg-spinner James Murihead is likely to feature in the playing XI.
Durban, also fondly termed as Green mamba is a good wicket for the pacers to shine and with windy, overcast conditions, they have a lot to look forward to. With the first match washed out, the winner here cannot lose the series but both teams will focus on testing whether their players are tuned up. It’s going to be two evenly-fought practice matched before the World T20.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (c), Farhaan Behardien, AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Dale Steyn.
Australia: George Bailey (c), Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
Time: 16:00 GMT | 21:30 IST
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)